I am a missionary in Spain who desires for the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed in me, to be unabashed about the love of Christ, and unafraid to go where God calls. These are my stories in this journey of letting God have everything.

06 April 2006

Culture Shock!!!

Readers Advisory: Warning, Amy is experiencing culture shock so this blog entry may contain a fair amount of complaining and whining. She just needs to vent. So, proceed with caution.

When I came to Spain, exactly 3 months ago today, I was aware that I would experience culture shock. After further discussion with Heather, my supervisor for my internship, we discussed how culture shock takes on different forms and will last the entire year I am here. I'll give you a brief overview of the different stages.

Entry into new culture: You are experiencing new things, learning, excited, experimenting, and seeing new things. Sounds good huh?!

3 - 6 Months: The novelty has worn off, problems are exaggerated, and you are more prone to be anxious, angry, homesick, and disappointed.

7 - 18 Months: There is tentative acceptance, marginal risk taking, trust issues, yet you are also fearfull.

All that to say, I have hit the second phase. I am definately easily annoyed and am so frustrated with a lot of stuff. So on with my complaints:

I don't like seista right now. It is so annoying that I can't go to most shops between about 1:30 and 5:30. I have Spanish class until 11:30 so it gives me very little time to run the errands I need to.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been strikes on the metro during rush hour in the morning and in the evening. I just started dance classes 3 weeks ago and have gone to class 7 times now. Of those 7 times, the strike was going on for 5 of those metro trips. Last Thrusday it was absolutely horrible. First I had to wait half an hour for a metro, it usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes. Then when one finally came there were so many people, the only way I can explain it is to say it was like sardines in a can. The fact that I was actuallly able to squeeze onto the train was quite a feat. At the first stop I was pushed in every direction. People were pushing me on the right and left trying to get off the train but then people were also pushing me from behind trying to get on the train. Finally this one guy starts coming toward me to get off the train and yells at me in my face than then proceeds to run right into me and push me off the train. Fortunately I didn't fall, but needless to say, I was incredibly frustrated and angry. I can't even respond because my Spanish isn't good enough. I was pretty late for my dance class that night.

Despite the fact that in my dance class I am probably the only one who has danced for more than two years, I am one of the only people that gets corrections.

Everything always starts later than it is supposed to. I consistently show up about 15 minutes late for my Spanish class and I am 99% of the time there before my professor.

Things don't happen when they are supposed to. We got natural gas in our apartment about a month ago now for our heat and hot water. Since then my roommates have called the propane company at least 3 or 4 times to come pick up the old empty propane bottles and guess where they are?! Yep, you guessed it, they are still in our house. Go figure.

People are very public in their relationships. One any given day you will see at least 5 couples making out and probably 1 or 2 fighting. Some things are meant for behind closed doors. I am tired of seeing public make out sessions!

It seems like no one knows how to clean up their dog's poop. Our street is especially bad. That's not the only crap that happens in the street either, men here feel it is their job to make cat calls at just about every woman that passes by them.

Ok, I guess that may be enough complaining for now. I really do like it here, but this is the time when everything seems worse than it really is so I thought I would share with you all. Don't worry too much, I'll get over it. Thanks for listening!


anne said...

I totally know what you mean with all that. And venting is quite often needed.

Get it out and it'll all be ok! :)

*still jealous that you're there though...

kelly_w said...

Vent away! And I heard tae bo helps you get out frustration without actually hitting anything. And if you need to hit, well, that's why we have Victoria!

love ya,

Troy said...

...And you know what's THE WORST! When your friggin' team leader cancels a mentoring session with you and reschedules for another day!



(Which is it? Can't remember. Oh well. Either way, it's bad. And he deserves it, the insensitive jerk.)

Seriously, glad you felt free to vent. Appreciate your honesty and your stick-to-it-tiveness (or fortitude, justice, and temperance--one of those cardinal sins--or virtues. Can't remember now what those are. But, oh well. Either way, it's good. And you deserve it.)


Michelle B said...

venting is 100% necessary. Let me think of some good tension relievers - aside from the aforementioned tae bo and random hitting (both great suggestions, btw) - screaming into your pillow, eating ice cream and running like Pheobe from friends.
But don't worry - you're there for a reason - you can dooooo it!
Michelle :)

Jared and Susan said...

We both understand how you feel. There have been so many times here in Honduras that we think we are going to go nuts with culture differences. But now the things that used to bother us seem perfectly normal.


Brad & Lindsey said...

Don't feel bad about venting. It is so necesary sometimes to get those things out on the table. Its like a friendship. Oftentimes we keep everything in, but its when we actually share how things make us feel that the wounds begin to heal.

Lindsey and I are really looking forward to getting to meet you and Kelly this July. As you are thinking about things that drive you nuts, let me know if there is anything that would totally make you happy (Peanut Butter, Rice Krispey Treats, etc) When we lived in Sevilla a couple years ago I would have days where a Rice Krispey Treat would make me soooo happy!