The Greatest Lessons Learned By Living Abroad
My family and I moved to Central American in 2000 with the idea of blue skies and sunshine. Never heard of culture shock, never imagined or dreamed there would be a problem adjusting to our surroundings because everything we had read said that we would LOVE it!!! Much to our dismay, all that we had read was not exactly accurate. While my husband was in an office that had to speak English and my boys were immersed in football where they didn't care what language was spoken, my daughter and I were having a very hard time coping with the changes brought on by living in a country much different from our own.
It took us almost 2 years, and I have heard that this is the magic number. If you make it 2 years you are over the hump. I don't know what happened after that 1 1/2 - 2 year mark, but we both changed. We both began to love the country. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were learning more Spanish and appreciating the culture. Maybe it was because I stopped questioning the reasoning for why the natives of the country did what they did. It never made sense to me anyway because they didn't do things the way people at home did so I just started accepting things for the way they were.
We stopped, or I stopped, being so judgmental and cynical about things. The transformation that came about in us, especially me was incredible. I really was not a believer that someone can change until I did it myself in such a large way.
I am a better person for having lived in Central America. I prefer, as aggravating as it is, to do business with these people than to do business with North Americans. Now that I don't live in the country full time, my Spanish suffers and I don't drive as bad as I used to, but I still appreciate the valuable lessons that I learned.
My children will always remember the time they spent and the values they learned by living in a country where family comes first. Not everyone is blessed enough to live this experience. If you are, thank God everyday and tell your friends how thankful you truly are!