jetlag + homesickness + culture shock

I’m still a bit jetlagged, and as the title says, I’m also homesick and culture-shocked.

I guess I should expect this, coming to a foreign country for a year.  But I can say “I’ll get used to it” as many times as I want and still not feel much better–I’m getting a bit overwhelmed.  A friend of mine who goes to an educational institution in Darmstadt showed me a few key locations in Darmstadt today.  Just seeing those few places that I’ll be living near in just a few days made me nervous.  I have never lived in a city, so knowing that I will be living with traffic and construction and herds of pigeons and tons and tons of people within even just 100 meters of me is scary for some reason.

And then it’s all in German, too.  My German has already improved over the last couple of days–I keep having to go back over this post to correct places in sentences where I used German grammar or capitalization by mistake–but it’s still pretty bad.  You really can’t properly learn a language unless you are immersed in it, but the immersion is stressful because there’s so much you can’t explain to the people who speak the language natively.  When my friend’s family asked me this afternoon why I was upset, my German was so mangled I couldn’t explain properly other than that my emotions were due to homesickness and culture shock.

And in addition, not only is my German not fluent, but I am also not used to speaking German while shopping, or cooking, or trying to find my way around town, or trying to figure out how to help with household chores I’m not used to doing because I don’t live here.  I’m used to speaking German in a nice quiet classroom.  That’s not the case here.  This is the big leagues, and I’m scared.

Hopefully I will get used to this.  This year could be great, but right now I’m just overwhelmed.  I’m so thankful, though, that I didn’t take the university’s suggestion and arrive the day before I move into my apartment.  That would have been even more stressful.  I’d like to thank the family I’m staying with for everything they’ve done so far.  They are extremely sweet, friendly, helpful people, and I am thankful to be here.  I’m just scared.

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2 thoughts on “jetlag + homesickness + culture shock

    • I’ve been penpals with them for a while. I met one member of the family on a Children with Diabetes listserv thing a few years ago, and we became penpals, and in the end, our families have kind of become penpals. They’re awesome people. 🙂

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