Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Anconcito, Ecuador
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?
As I doubt that a 100 times through It's A Small World at the NY Worlds Fair before the age of 6 would count, I would say "no"; however, I grew attending public schools where I was a minority in a very ethnically mixed city located just north of Manhattan. That plus 2 years of high school Spanish, and scoring the lead in their production of West Side Story, introduced me to Latin culture. Twenty five years in south Florida introduced me to the Latin people.
Moving to Ecuador Soon?
If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?
I am speaking some language other than English and am being understood more and more. I have more words at my disposal and can almost hold a meaningful conversation in almost three whole tenses. I still glance at the cash register to see the number rather than count on my hearing. Not too shabby for being here just under 2 years.
Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?
My greater concern was getting prepared to move to Ecuador. Although planned for over two years it was the final 2 months that were a frantic buzz of activity punctuated by moments of shock and/or sheer terror. I didn't have time to be concerned about future shock, I was well enough in shock at that time!
How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?
I luxuriated in the honey moon stage -- right up until Monday morning when they started the renovations.
From June 23rd until July 18 I heard banging, clanging, busting, ripping, shredding, rock breaking, and every demolition, ceramic and piping cutting and rockbreaking sound you can imagine from 8 am to 5 pm and til 12noon on Saturdays.
And then when we were all done upgrading the existing houses on the property -- we started building a New one!
And that didn't end until Christmas ... Ah Paradise
Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?
Labels are so easy ~ being an expatriate is very far from one size fits all ~ Stages? Sure, but they aren't all shaped the same way. Just as there are a myriad number of reasons why someone moves abroad, there is an equal or greater number of stages I am sure.
What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.
Absolutely I experienced all of this: anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, and especially etc., but I was already experiencing all of that back where I came from, so I knew it was time for a drastic change. And although I did experience all of that I also experienced joy, laughter, relaxation, tranquility, serenity and peace of mind, fulfillment, happiness, contentment, proper nutrition, enjoyment without gluttony, and a sense of family. Oh and I lost 53 pounds in 9 months by eating lots of lobster and corvina.
What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?
Their particular sense of family spirit and belief in the future.
What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?
Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!
I discovered the word "embarazado" does not translate to "embarrassed." Go ahead, look it up -- and save yourself.
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
At least visit the country of your dreams. You owe yourself that much in Life.
More Expat Advice about Culture Shock in Ecuador