Awareness: A Blessing and a Curse?

I’d always thought that my knowledge of culture shock was something that would somehow make me immune to it. I thought if I knew what it was and what to expect in advance, I could somehow avoid it. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. After a little over four months here, I seem to be exhibiting some symptoms of it. Is this delayed culture shock or am I just having a bad day? I don’t know. I thought it might be culture shock because I recognized the symptoms from my studies. Slowly the exhilaration and adventure of living abroad started to fade a bit and I felt a bit out of place and helpless when it came to accomplishing certain tasks. Due to my (perhaps perceived/imaginary) lack of language skills, I began to feel the tug of desire toward the familiar, toward situations I can control, toward environments where I can accomplish anything with ease and relatively no effort whatsoever. Of course I really don’t want to leave Russia and if I were to take the easy way out (something I’ve never done before) I know I’d immediately regret it and spend a lifetime wondering “what if.” But, I admit, I did have a moment where I did miss all the perks that come from being familiar with and in command of one’s own culture/surroundings. However, a day later it seemed to have passed as I decided to dig in and not give up. Instead of fighting my feeling which, from my research, I know is a bad idea, I let myself feel it, acknowledged it, and then let it go. This is where awareness is definitely a plus. Thanks to my research I knew what I was experiencing and how to best handle it.

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