Sunday, October 3, 2010

They Say October Equals Depression

So as soon as I got here they (the almighty guides who first help you with your visas, set you up in your apartments, and then take you on tours) warned us that we will go through 3 phases. First is the Honeymoon phase. Please feel free to guess what that means. Then we will have a drastic plunge into a sad, homesick, "I hate it here, you can't get that here like you can in the states" phase. This is supposed to happen in October, funny enough. Then you even out into a place in the middle. They don't give you a month when that phase begins, but they say sometime after the holidays. This is a place of contentment where it doesn't feel like vacation anymore, but it sure does feel exciting most every day. Now, those of you reading my blog will want to know about how I have dealt with these phases, and even more of you will want to know how Henry has faired.

I never had a Honeymoon. Not the kind you get after you walk down the aisle or the one you are supposed to experience when you first move to a new country. Instead, I woke up every morning surprised that I was in South America. I just kept trying to function and stay "real". That sounds silly, but let me clarify. I knew I was in a new country (this from a girl who got her first ever stamp in her passport) and that was enough for me. I didn't have to soak everything in. I didn't have to paint the town. I just wanted to be here. Understanding that I actually had the balls (excuse me if that is crude to you) to do it. So there was no high for me.

Now here comes October. The month that most ex-pats (if you aren't familiar with the term it means ex-patriot ~American who lives fairly permanently in another country) plunge. Here is how I feel.

I miss the Fall in the High Country. Pumpkins, Fall Festivals, leaves changing, apple butter. That makes me sad, and I knew it would! Self fulfilled prophecy I tell you! I love the Kruger Brothers and their song "Carolina in the Fall" and I knew that sometime during the month of October I'd listen to that song and dry a few tears. But do I miss the mammoth supermarkets, driving a car all over town, eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant as much as I'm supposed to? Not yet. I do miss my Sweet Heart of a guy, random visits with my folks and canoe trips down the New River. Those things I miss and October does make it a bit sadder.
Now the last phase approaches for me, maybe a bit early. There was no big high for me, and no big low, so I think the last phase might have been my phase all along with little spikes here and there.

And Henry, you ask, has been in phase 3 since....maybe the second day of our time here. He was really ready to get out of that kennel!


  1. When I was in Hong Kong, I didn't have a "honeymoon" phase either.... and I found that most people who did were rather obnoxious ;-)

    I did, however, have a somewhat constant, pervasive feeling of discontentment of not being home. I wouldn't even go so far as to call it homesickness, and it wasn't also "my goodness I miss {insert food name here}. It's just what happens when you lived a fulfilling life with loved ones elsewhere-- you miss them.

    The good news is that the more "even-keel" your moods are now, the more you'll evolve back into the swing of things when you return to the States-- which is actually the time that a lot of expats really freak out.

    Katie Rozycki

  2. When I was in Korea I felt like I was a tourist for about 2 months. Then reality struck--I was in a foreign country where no one spoke English and I couldn't really speak Korean yet. It was a tough few months. It got to the point that seeing signs in Korean would make me queasy. Then one morning, after 10 months in Korea, I woke up craving kimchi and rice for breakfast. Everything just kind of clicked. I didn't have to think so hard to speak the language. It was like I was fully acclimated to the culture.

    Katie's right--coming back home is another ordeal altogether.

  3. Words of wisdom for sure, friends! Thanks!