Q. How have you overcome culture shock?
A. Interestingly to me, before I moved here and for the first few months I didn't think of myself having issues with culture shock. As I have been married to an Arab, I am close with his Arabian family, I had been to Jordan numerous times over he past 12 years; I thought I wouldn't have any trouble with culture shock...I thought I knew the culture.
As my time here has lengthened and I have been working within the Arab community, I realise more and more the cultural differences. I have little problems or concerns about the culture itself, really it's a pretty good community; however, things trip me up sometimes. I would give examples of this; however, I don't want any of my Jordanian friends and family to read my blog, misunderstand or misinterpret my posting, and feel hurt by my words and shy to ask what was truly meant.
That being said, how do I overcome culture shock....#1-find Americans who relate to me, the circumstances of Jordan, and the Jordanian culture. I have found this to be the most helpful thing. I have Jordanian friends and family who I can talk to and I have American family and friends living in America; however, they just don't get what I mean by certain things. Verses an American living in Jordan who totally gets it when I say something like, "I wish there was a Target anywhere in Jordan, as I would drive 3 hours to get there - just to look around!"
The other things that has helped me adjust to my new environment is to #2- understand Jordanians, understand their culture, cultural norms, why they do things a certain way, and their way of thinking. I have started to think as a Jordanian. Even though I am American and I have my own view on things, if I understand Jordanian thinking I can then think as them to understand what to expect.
Lastly, to #3- find humor. I don't always get the culture and sometimes I don't want to get certain things...like why do you have to walk, literally, two steps away from my car as I am passing by you at 40 km?! Are you not afraid of me and my car?!...to find humor and people who get your humor about the new environment....back to the idea of having friends from your home community who just get it and just get me!
Good luck with your transition. On those tough days, just talk yourself into believing that you have a great opportunity that not everyone gets...to live within a new community, a new culture, a new language, that sometimes you don't get, but that you will definately learn from. You will take what is good from what you knew, from back home, and what you now know, in your new home, and you will make it your own...the best of both worlds will mold you into a great person with a unique perspective!