More life shock than culture shock.

The hard part is not buying new bedding and adjusting to the new climate. Well not anymore. That’s what you kind of get used to – I think adjusting to new circumstances can be trained. When I first moved abroad that is what I was concerned about, and what people would ask me about. Oh, how do you think you’ll cope with Swedish winters? Isn’t it super cold there and dark? At least they have IKEA! So you don’t have to worry about where you can buy stuff to make your room cozy. Sounds familiar?

Well, first of, people don’t ask me as much anymore. It’s kinda interesting how everybody just gets used to you moving around the globe. When I first moved to Jönköping, Sweden, it was a really big deal. Then back to Sweden was kinda “wow you must have really liked it up there, but so long this time?” When I moved to DC the common reaction was: “What?! DC that’s crazy, girl! How did you get that internship?” And now we’re more at: “So China is next, huh? Well, have fun.” 😀

Too be fair: I guess many people don’t fancy Asia as much. Or they don’t know anything about it. Except that it’s a somehow really different, crazy place. Exotic and somehow dangerous.

Well guess what: Also in China – life just goes on.

One of the very interesting things that I came to realize is that wherever I go, I don’t change. Not just simply because of moving somewhere else. I obviously change over time, I learn, I grow. But I’m always working on the same person, the same me with the same experiences.

So interestingly enough, I don’t think I encountered culture shock here, not really. China is different. Things are definitely done differently here, which needs adjustment at times. I became way more attentive to traffic, I even ride a bike in this craziness. I don’t react anymore when somebody is spitting out on the street right next to me, accompanied by animalistic sounds. I’m getting less and less intimidated by Chinese finding it openly very funny that my food ordering skills resemble a professional pantomime show.

And sometimes there are things that you are just not willing to adjust to and then you have to find your work-arounds. Like using public toilets without any doors on the single booths – No thank you, China. But after all Shanghai is pretty Western-friendly, there is a Western styled toilet to be found almost everywhere. You will sometimes find people who can communicate in English. You can buy any kind of food – probably any kind of anything actually, as long as you don’t mind searching for a while. Well and Chinese skills would really come in handy.

So, honestly it was less of a culture shock. But I did encounter another kind of shock here: A life shock. Because the really difficult part for me is how to stick to the lifestyle that I love. How to find the right people for good, deeper talks. How to find cozy and comfort. How to stay fit and healthy. How to explore, where to start. What does this new life hold for me and how can I fully enjoy it? It’s not always easy to be yourself, to be true to yourself, in a new setting. Where nobody knows who you are, except you. Where you are so independent that nobody else will hold you responsible to follow your dreams, where there are no good friends that know when to push you and when you just need a hug and some comfort.

I am where I want to be. In a state of pure independence. Which is awesome, and which sucks at the same time. I always knew this was only going to be an experiment for a limited time, I knew this ideal idea would have its flaws, as well as its upsides. I still think its a great place to explore your most true self – in a bubble of independence. But its definitely a concept I want to explore more deeply:

Pure independence – read more about this in my next article – stay posted. If you haven’t done so yet, the best way to keep in touch is to sign up to this blog via E-Mail or WordPressReader below (aka in the footer). Never miss an article again.


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