Culture Shock or is it Home Sickness?


Everyone keeps asking me if I’m home sick and I reply with a firm no.  I miss my family and my friends but lucky for me I talk to them and video chat with them almost every day. We have been here for three weeks, almost four yet I still feel unsettled. I rationalize telling myself that as soon as we get our house things will be better, as soon as we start finding our way around things will get better, as I get a car and a job I will feel better. And I do feel better but I still feel off.  I had an awesome night with a few girls I met here already and have been getting out and about on the weekends with Richie still…when I’m alone I feel uneasy.  It’s not that I feel unsafe. I know I am safe here on base, my neighbors are extremely nice and I hear families and children playing outside all day long. I believe that I’m suffering from culture shock.  When you go outside the gates, everything is different. People still walk around and drive cars but they are on the other side of the road and all of the signs are in Japanese, Kanji, to be more precise.  There are still restaurants and shops but you may have to take your shoes off when you go in to eat or learn how to ask for things that you need in a language that is completely foreign to me. ( I can say hello, and thank you).   I am learning each day, the many customs that the Okinawans have, especially so that I don’t accidentally offend someone. 

Richie and I went to a restaurant in town called, “Tsubaki-Ya”,  where you take your shoes off and you sit at a low table on cushions and you order from a menu with pictures. It was delicious but extremely frustrating trying to manuever chopsticks when I was dying of starvation. Ok, I wasn’t really dying of starvation, I just felt like it.  In the end, I managed to have a wonderful meal with sushi, fried rice and chopsticks and Richie paid for it all in Yen! It was definitely an adventure but still one that took patience and the urge to try something new.  I’m excited to see all of the wonderful things the island has to offer, as well as having a job again and exploring new things but I miss the comfort of knowing where things are, knowing exactly who to call when I needed something.  I suppose the adventure isn’t just in getting here but living here and making this our home.

Maybe it really is just good-old fashioned homesickness. The unknown is scary even when you have a loving husband by your side to help you through it. 

Do you ever feel like you are missing something but you don’t even know what it is?

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3 thoughts on “Culture Shock or is it Home Sickness?

  1. mamma says:

    Aly, Wow!!!! I felt inside how you’re feeling by reading this. Have you ever thought of writing? I can only imagine how strange it would be to see signs that you have no idea what they mean, taking your shoes off, and not wanting to offend anyone.. This is an experience you can one day tell your children and friends. There will be things you will experience in Japan that you will never feel again. I am so PROUD of you both for having the courage and strength to become all you can be. I could not have asked for anything more than the children I have (u included). I can’t wait to read more. Just think once you get more settled, the culture shock will possible subside, you won’t feel as home sick and then you can take on some adventures. Take some pictures and write stories about what you see. I think you would be pretty darn good at that….. I love you both m t words!!!!!

  2. Rosie says:

    Hey Princess, Loved reading this!! Can’t imagine how it feels being somewhere totally different than home without family and old friends!! You are living on such an adventure. You have this new life with a wonderful new husband, new friends, cultures, language….so exciting!! Something you will remember always. You have to put together one of the books with all the pictures and your journel!!
    As I was reading tears were streaming down my face! Not only because I love and miss you but because of the sweet, caring, beautiful woman you have become!! Love you bunches! Rosie
    Give Richie a hug and tell him to hug you from me!

  3. JessieMae says:

    I love you, and if you need anything you know exactly who to call…
    I miss you so much, but this is such a great experience and its not permanent!
    Everyone from home is supporting you and richie! Im sorry that it feels like this right now, I only hope and pray that it gets better with time.

    I love you. – JessieMae

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