My kids are more than slightly dramatic. They inherited this from their dad. Just ask my father-in-law. I, however, do not have a single dramatic bone in my body, but just trust me on this!
*Note: The following is a true story. Real names are used.*
One night, the kids and I are sitting on the girls’ bed for prayer time (they share a king size bed) and Ahmet was sitting in a chair next to AJ. There was probably no specific reason for it, but AJ was being teased by his dad for being dramatic.
All of a sudden, AJ says, “Sarah’s the one that’s dramatic. Remember the time she cried when she saw the chicken hanging in the food hall? She couldn’t even eat.”
Sarah, “I’m not dramatic, AJ. I have pubescent mood swings.”
Yeah…Ahmet and I laughed so hard, we were crying.
In our family, we are always looking for the humor in a situation. This really is something our kids inherited from their dad, and it is a blessing.
Before I talk about culture shock in Thailand, I just want to say that the worst culture shock I have ever experienced was when we moved to Louisiana. If I’m lying, I’m dying. It was not Louisiana so much as it was transitioning from military life back to the civilian world. Five years of living on naval bases with instant friends and lots of kids around, made the quietness and need to work at building new friendships very intimidating.
That being said, culture shock is not a bad thing. I’m not sure why it has such a negative connotation, especially among missionaries, but I hope to help you see how culture shock has often made our first year so much fun. Granted, it can be hard and taxing, but culture shock is a part of the process of adapting and growing. The Lord has used it in a mighty way in our life. I feel sad for missionaries who claim to have never experienced culture shock. Of course, when I listen to them talk about their new home and life, it is full of stories of adapting, and I realize they have, in fact, been through culture shock. It’s just the negative connotation of the word that keeps them from seeing and admitting to it.
Some of our culture shock stories:
Rachel sat down next to a monk on the BTS. She had no idea that monks cannot touch a female. He, of course, stood up right away; everyone around them stared at her, and she was asked to move. We laughed and laughed and laughed!
I dropped apples all on the ground at the market. Once I realized the other sellers were giggling behind their hands, I started laughing as well.
On our trip with our pastor, Ahmet completely forgot which side of the road he was supposed to be driving on, so he started to turn into the wrong entrance. It was his quick, “Wait. What?” that made us laugh.
When our pastor took over the driving, he kept turning on the wipers when he meant to use the turn signal. It was a celebration the first time he got it right!
A taxi driver was not interested in listening to Ahmet butcher Thai. When Ahmet tried to ask him a question, the driver simply held up his hand telling Ahmet to stop. The rest of up were in the back seat cracking up!
The first time I took a taxi alone, the driver went the opposite direction that I needed to go! Only, I did not realize it until he stopped and said we had arrived. This was when I realized he could not read the map I had showed him! No panicking here, just lots of laughter.
One last laugh for the day! Now, whenever we are feeling a little overwhelmed or frustrated by things around us–like a BTS stuffed full of people–we look at each other and say, “Pubescent mood swing!” This always helps dispel the tension!
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.