Culture shock is a reality, no matter how similar the new culture appears to be.
The stages of culture shock are spelled out in the official health handbook of my husband’s office.
I can attest to the fact that these descriptions are quite accurate. We have been here for 9 days and I’m somewhere between Stage 2 and 3. So far, all of the stages involve coping methods using combinations of different beverages, both coffee (in the morning, to help with jetlag) and whiskey (to help wind down at night).
When a family arrives at a new posting, in a new country, the embassy provides them with what they call a “welcome kit.” It contains necessities to tide you over until your household goods shipment arrives. Typically, it contains: bedding, towels, and basic kitchen supplies, like pots and pans, plates, flatware and bowls and a small coffee maker.
So, we have the basics, but the quality is such that even the boys want to know when OUR pillows, sheets and towels will be here. For drinkware, we have 8 coffee mugs and that’s it, no glasses, and they don’t even match! I went out and bought paper cups so that we don’t have to run the dishwasher twice per day, or, continuously hand wash. The second time I went out to restock, the coffee cups were on sale, so I bought them. I laugh when I see young Harold drinking from a cup labeled as coffee.
I’m temped to buy some items that would make things easier, like a larger bowl for salad, a cookie sheet to bake on, and more silverware, but it seems silly to spend money on things we will have by the end of September (hopefully.) Our air shipment, which has our bedding and towels and coffee maker, will be here in about 10 days and our sea shipment will be here sometime in September.