Shockingly cultural: Oh my God, I am home!

I feel like I owe you guys an apology. It’s been quite silent on my end the last few months.
[Or as us Dutchies love to yell out: “Het is stil aan de overkant!”]

What have I been up to? Well, to make a lo-o-o-ong story short: I have been suffering from a culture shock.

Or maybe I should say a reverse culture shock?

I moved back to the Netherlands in april of this year [2013]. As far as I know, I was born and raised in this country, so how come I have felt everything but “at home” for the last 5 months?

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According to the dictionary’s definition, a culture shock is: A condition of confusion and anxiety affecting a person suddenly exposed to an alien culture or milieu. Well isn’t that just peachy. Reverse or not, it was most definitely SEVERE. Little did I imagine that moving back to my home country would completely paralyse me. No idea about what to do, where to go….

Not exactly what you would call productive or efficient. Really quite the opposite. As the wonderful wonderer I am, I have started wondering what to do about this situation? And really after 5 months of directionless – or better said, all over the place! – worrying, heavy headaches and sleepless nights… I am ready to tell myself: Stop worrying, start doing!

Last night, I literally boxed my way out of my culture shock. Now, I am not suggesting you kick the S*** out of random strangers you come across in the streets to get rid of your frustration. What I AM saying is that you should find your “exhaust pipe”, your outlet.

For me, last night was the first time in a lo-o-o-ong time I didn’t think about my worries, confusions and money stress. Instead, my mind was fully occupied with uppercuts, left hooks and correctly kneeing my partner without losing my balance.

And afterwards? I was so exhausted I wasn’t even able to think, let alone worry. :D

The point I am trying to make here is that although it might seem like a paradox, in order to find your way, you first need to clear your head. Stop thinking. When your head is working at 500% spinning around your anxieties and insecurities, there is no space or energy left to give your life direction!

Click here to read more about culture shock and how to cope when you encounter it

Silly but true, what has helped me – if anything to better my mood! – is to ‘follow in the footsteps’ of Bob Marley. No, I am not referring to doing an exorbitant amount of drugs. I am referring to his invaluable life lesson or motto if you will: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY. The rest will work itself out as you go…


Are you about to give your life a new direction? Or thinking about it?

Don’t let this article stop you! Whether you are Dutch and about to set sail to (far) foreign destinations or a foreigner trying to settle into the Dutch culture and traditions: Amazing, incredible, life-changing experiences are awaiting. No doubt about it. Trust me, you’ll be fine! :)

[In my case, after regaining my happy self, I started my own business, made new friends in my 'old' home town, and even acquired a number of clients that turned out to be very happy with my language services. The real "solution", however, presented itself in the form of a job offer in the United States of America. I guess the Netherlands isn't my place on planet earth after all! ;) ]

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