Stage of culture shockI did read a story about the phases of culture shock and I thought by describing my own stages I could find out where I'm now. But let me begin by saying that I think that some people (when moving to a new culture) may already be in a certain stage at the moment of arriving there. Maybe the "moving" has already started before actually moving. I think in my personal way of "moving" that has been true. First of all because I came to this "new" culture already more as 15 times in a time span of 10-years. And secondly my mother is born in this culture and at home we have never lived the standard way that is normal to the culture as where I come from. I have always felt some kind of roots here in South East Asia.
Stage 1, Meeting Thailand
The first stage started for me in 1985 when I was on a 1-month holiday in Indonesia and Thailand. I did fall in love with the Asian way of life and I did feel at home. And from 1991 I continued to come back to Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and China. In that time I more and more started to like the Asian way of life of which I of course only could see a glimpse, while being on holiday here.
Stage 2, Falling in love with Thailand and all that becomes with it
The second stage began for me was in 1998 when my wife and me traveled for 6 months in SEA. My wife could easily fall back in her old life again, I could not. And I started to work in China and Thailand. At this time I did not only fall in love with Thailand but also with the nightlife of Bangkok and the sweet Angels that became with it.
Stage 3, Party
The third stage was the first 1 or 2 years that I lived in my new home country. I escaped the traditional way of "living & working" and life was one big party. I did not understand anything of the local language or culture. Of course I did not think so at that moment. I did work once and a while and made good money which I spend just as easy I did make it. A stage where I saw myself as better and smarter as "those" Thai and other guests of this wonderful country.
Stage 4, Wake-up the day after the party
And then somehow, somewhere I slowly transformed myself to the fourth stage. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that at least I started to understand a little bit Thai and some cultural things? It for sure is a stage where I realized that returning back to my old home-country would be very difficult. I started to accept more of the new culture and not seeing it all as bad. I also started to read more about daily life & politic in Thailand. In this stage has maybe I made the decision that my future life must be here in Thailand. Also where I realized that life in my old home-country was not so bad at all. Actually there are a lot of good and nice things. Then I also started to realize that I have to overcome in a better way the cultural and language cap between me and my new home country.
Next stage, I do not have a clue
I do not know anymore where I am, yes in still in Thailand and even married. One thing is for sure; returning back home would be more difficult as ever before, but on the other hand not as impossible as it did seem in the beginning. If for some reason I have to go back I fill not choose the "body-bag" way (as many others seem to choose). I found good friends, nice neighbors and other lovely people. But I also start to see the real "bad" things of my new home country, and irritate me more and more on it. I have seen people moving back home because they could not live with that anymore. Can I?
Published on 10/23/10