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Logistics in Returning: Headache

On returning to the States in March, we had a sweet time of reunion with family and friends.  But soon after those sweet times came the headache of dealing with the logistical issues of returning: insurances, vehicles, taxes, etc.

Sweet reunion with cousins!
Sweet reunion with cousins!

Vehicles

Last summer (2015) we started saving up money for a family vehicle.  I knew the probability of us become a family of five was very high, so we needed to be prepared.  We had a Dodge Neon at home that we would use on our return. But it would last long if we were going to have a third baby.  So in November when we found out I was pregnant with baby#3, we were so grateful we’d already been saving money for that family vehicle.

Two months before we returned, we started shopping cars on Craigslist and locally in our city.  We called about a couple, my dad checked some out, but each time it fell through.  Anxiety was knocking at our door, but because baby wasn’t due till July we knew we had plenty of time to find the right vehicle for us.

Two weeks after return, we found one and bought it–IN CASH!!! What a cool feeling!! Yet also very sober feeling, Do I really want this car?  Look at all this cash I’m holding! But I really liked it and we got our Nissan Quest spaceship.  Have you ever seen the front console of one of those things–it kinda feels like a spaceship.  🙂

Selfie in the van!
Selfie in the van!

We were excited about our new van!  But when we went to get insurance on it, the headache began!  We found that most companies wouldn’t insure us because we hadn’t had car insurance for the last 18 months while we were in Africa. My Love looked and looked and researched.  But we were having a hard time.  Eventually we had to settle for a high rate with an online company.  We were thankful to finally have it–it’s always more pleasant to drive legally! 😉 And we are looking forward to the time when we can re-shop for insurance and get a better deal!

Taxes

But the headaches didn’t end there.  April 15th was coming soon–tax day.  This was our first time to do taxes while being out of the country for the whole of a year.  We’d always done our taxes ourselves online, but this was uncharted territory.  My Love looked into going through an Agent, but even the papers they gave us to fill out ahead of time we were unsure about. He decided to give the online method a shot.  He did research and research, navigating his way question by question and figured it out!

Health Insurance

After April, we’ve had a peaceful time until doctor’s appointments and Little Brother was born and figuring out how to use our International Health Insurance nationally.  The insurance we had for Africa was great! But it’s a different ball game back in the States.  I learned that they didn’t cover our kids’ vaccinations–$$ for us.  And the way you place claims is…a headache in itself.

Since Little Brother was born in July, we’ve been trying to solve the puzzle of how our insurance will work and cover our costs.  And especially after seeing how much his NICU bill is…we are PRAYING that they cover our costs!  And to throw in another twist, our insurance renewal is this fall and we wont renew because we’ll be in the States for another year or so. Yuck!

Unpacking

We didn’t expect or realize there would be so many hurdles to jump on this side of returning home.  There were even hurdles in setting up our home–our house.  We rented out our house, that we own, while we were gone.  The renting went well and we are looking forward to continuing that when we return to Africa.  But it was a hassle, in the business and 6-9 months of pregnancy, to unpack and re-setup the house.  If our house was a train station, there would have been many train wrecks. There was stuff coming out of totes, stuff going into totes.  Things coming out of suitcases to be put in the house, put in a tote, put in the basement. And things coming out of the basement to be put in the house.

Wall the bags we came home with.
All the bags we came home with.

We’ve been home five months and I still have a bag of holiday and misc. things from Africa in a closet because I haven’t gotten to put it in the basement yet. We have our tote of pictures and random decorations still setting in our dining room. I have a bag of our Africa treasures still in a bag next to my bed because I haven’t found a place to put them yet.  Little by little, it is feeling more like a home and less like a train station.  But that was a hurdle I didn’t expect.

Conclusion

I don’t know if there is any way to avoid these re-entry issues or even prepare for them.  There was no way we could have fixed the car insurance deal, that was just a bummer of a reality.  Unpacking our house could have been easier and faster if I would have asked for help. From our experiences and what from what I’ve learned, here is my two cents:

1.) Ask for help!  Whether its with taxes or unpacking your house, ask for help!  Are there people who have done this before you?  Do you have an accountant friend that you could talk with?  Is there a college girl needing some service hours, extra money, or just free to help? Do you have family around?  Ask them to help you! They want to see you and spent time with you anyways!

2.) Heads up! Now that you know logistical issues happen, you can at least be mentally prepared for some hurdles.  But are there insurance or tax logistics that you need to look into before hand? If you foresee an issue arising, figure out if there are simple steps to take to make it less of a headache.

3.) Breath and keep running!  Don’t let the stress of unknown and complications get to you.  It’s life, hurdles are all around.  Take a deep breath, pray, and jump! Tackle the problems with a good attitude. More pleasant times are just around the turn.

 

Saying Goodbye: A Process

This past January 1, 2016, I started our 90-day count down in leaving Africa to return to the States.  I’m not much of a last-minute-person and I like to avoid as much stress as possible.  So I started my 90-day count down of what I would pack and when; when I needed to make certain arrangements in the States; and when I would start saying goodbye to whom.

We have been through a lot of cross-cultural trainings and one phrase I’ve heard over and over is,

“In order to arrive well, you need to leave well.”

And I wanted to do BOTH well, so I put a lot of deep thought into how we could “leave well.”  I thought about our family’s needs: My Love’s need for a low-stress environment; my need for deep relationship-connectedness; and our kids’ needs for expressing their emotions during transition.

After evaluating those needs I decided (1) I would slowing start downsizing our possessions, but not start packing essentials till the very end as to keep our environment low-stress for My Love. (2) I would make sure that as we downsized, our kids would be a part of deciding what toys to get rid of each week and where they would go. (3) We would intentionally spend weekly times with friends and then keep our last two weeks free to be with our best friends.

A couple practical ways we practiced “leaving well” were by giving things away, last meals, and writing letters.

Giving things Away–

So…it is amazing what you collect over a year of life even with a minimalist mentality.  And it is amazing what wont fit into just 5 check bags and 2 carry ons.  We had a lot of possessions to go through: clothes we brought in the beginning that we never worn or didn’t fit anymore; replacement clothes; kitchen items; toys; random electronics; and ‘office supply’ types of things.  So I divided my apartment into categories, and week by week went through that ‘area of the apartment’ to downsize–keeping all essentials till the last week.

I had a basket in our bedroom I would toss ‘give away’ items in, then once it was full I would give to a friend.  (The community aspect of African culture is amazing.  And what they didn’t use from me, they passed on to the next person till it all found a home.)

With our kids’ possessions, week by week I would ask them what toys they wanted to give away or were all done playing with.  Some weeks it would be two toys, others it would be 10 toys–it was their decision.  I wanted them to practice making the choices to downsize to experience the feelings in leaving, and to help them realize the reality of,  “We are leaving Africa.”

The second step we took with our kids was prompting them to give their toys aways to their friends and people of choice.  This also helped them ‘leave’ and created for them relational connections.  So Bub chose specific toys to give to specific friends.  He gave his TiLung leopard to Z to ‘take care of for him’ while he was in America. This was a special toy to Bub, but for some reason he didn’t want to take it to America so we gave it to an older girl friend to ‘take care of’ while we are gone.

He gave his Noah’s Ark boat and animal set to his class on his last day of school.  He did it so they could remember him when they played with it.  🙂  It amazed this momma’s heart how thought full and deep children’s hearts can be at such a young age–Bub is 3!  Though he struggled with saying the word, “goodbye,” this helped him.  His friends were happy with the new toys, so goodbye wasn’t a sad thing any more. Honey-Bear was great at speaking goodbyes and did her own give aways with a bit more direction from us.

Last Meals–

Having family meals is such an important part of African culture: a great to way to love, respect, and honor to the people you eat with.  We came to love meal times with other families and value them! So tried to have last meals with our closest friends and their families.

Of course, our friends wanted to host and give us their best recipes, so we enjoyed ourselves.  The honor they showed us was humbling.  The conversations we shared we so rich and meaningful.  These times were so precious and moments I hold dear in my heart.  And after 5-10 minutes of hugs, tears and goodbyes, we walked away sad but with a feeling of wholeness.  I found myself thinking, “If leaving people we’ve known for less than a year is this hard…we did something right!”

And though leaving them was hard and heart-breaking, the wholeness feeling we felt was from saying goodbye really well.  And each time after leaving their homes, we felt our hearts emotionally closing that door behind us, which made us ready to open the doors that were before us in arriving.

Writing Letters–

Writing letters is a practice I used when we left the States in 2014.  I’m a letter girl! I love to receive a letter that I can read over and over again–it helps the love ‘last’ longer–and it is deeply personal and intimate.  I’m also not a quick thinker and usually I leave a conversations and remember 10 minutes later, “Oh, that’s what I wanted to say.”  So…I again decided to write letters to my Africa friends I was leaving to say my goodbyes.

Through my letters, I was able to pour out my heart and say all the things I wanted to say.  I asked my language teacher to help me in this process.  So I ended up writing my letters in English, then she would re-write them in the national language.  With her help (because there are still many things I couldn’t say in their language), I was able to express my heart 100% to my friends. And my heart felt closure from that.

Since then, each friend I wrote to has messaged me saying how personally touched they were by my words.  And though I wasn’t looking for responses, it was an even deeper, more whole feeling to know they understood my heart, it blessed their hearts, and it made our relationships deeper.

So if you haven’t heard it yet, let me say it again,

“In order to arrive well, you need to leave well.”

 

Products I Love: Stroller Edition

Out of all the products we would need living in Africa,  our stroller is the product I spent the most time searching for.  There are so many options out there–they don’t make it easy for you.  So, I am gonna show you how I picked the right stroller.

1. Choose Your Desired Features:

  1. Reclining Back
  2. Lightweight
  3. Moveable Sun Shade
  4. Easy Close
  5. Good wheels
  6. Etc.

Those were the main features I was wanting in our stroller, plus tall handle bars for my tall husband.  So those were the things I searched from.  First I searches ‘Lightweight strollers.’  Then from those, I looked for the ones that had most or all of my other desired features. I was pretty picky.

2. Do Your Homework:

  1. Look on the product website and read reviews.
  2. Google pictures to see if you like how it looks.
  3. If it’s in town, test drive it.

This is very important.  I cut several strollers from my lists because reviews showed flaws in the stroller, or that ‘the wheels we not that good.’  Tips like that are so nice to know ahead of time.  Google pictures are great to see how it really looks like in real life.  This helped narrow my list if it looked too big, too small, or too short. And always, test drive if you get the chance.

3. Shop Prices:

  1. Look on the product website.
  2. Craigslist
  3. Facebook ‘Give-N-Take’ Pages
  4. Amazon
  5. Etc.

I usually started my searching on Amazon.com.  Once I narrowed my top choices, I looked all around me to see if anyone was selling second hand.  Strollers can be quite expensive, so spending some time looking for a deal is a good way to save some money.  You never know what you may find around you!

4. Choose Your Desired Accessories:

  1. Rain Cover
  2. Organizer/Console (that fits your handle bars*)
  3. Airplane Bag
  4. Toys
  5. Car Seat Bar
  6. Etc.

Once you’ve picked your stroller, find which accessories you want. This is a great way to add more to basic strollers (which are often cheaper).  I only wanted a stroller organizer, but had to search carefully to find one that fit the handle bars correctly. This is the one I chose. I like it because goes on and off easily.  I use it as my diaper bag.  And there’s an inside zipper where I keep my wallet, hidden and safe, yet easy to access.

Pick wisely, you don’t have to buy tons of stuff for your stroller.  But if you’re moving, say to Seattle, you should think about buying a Rain Cover for your stroller.  Think through was you actually need and get it, at a good price.


So…do you want to see what I decided on?!

Inglesina Swift Stroller
Inglesina Swift Stroller

There she is–our Inglesina Swift Stroller in Navy.  And we LOVE her!!!!!!! The Inglesina is an Italian Stroller.

What do I love about her?

  1. She reclines in three positions.
  2. The Sun Shade moves  140 degrees and extends! There’s LOTS of sun in Africa and our kids are so grateful for the Sun Shade, too.
  3. The handles are tall enough for My Love.
  4. It is so simple to close and open.
  5. The wheels and break are so good.
  6. We have taken her to 5 different countries, countless airplanes, trains, taxis, buses, dirt roads, rock and brick roads. We have worked her HARD and she’s still doing great!!

**My only negative after 18 months of ^ that kind of hard work, is the fastener that keeps it shut is loose and doesn’t hold it as close together anymore.

At the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
At the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.

In fact, we didn’t realize how much we loved our stroller until it was stollen about three months ago.  🙁  It was sad!  We went through a mini-grieving period.  We got her before Honey-Bear was born.  She has been everywhere we’ve traveled, taken such good care of our kids…a part of our family!

In Marseilles, France at the Château D'eau.
In Marseilles, France at the Château D’eau.

Even looking online to buy another stroller, I couldn’t find any that I thought would do as good as our Swift. I couldn’t get myself to buy a replacement.  And thankfully, I didn’t because a week later we found her being sold at a local shop.  HA!  She still had the little stain from the cup spill and food crumbs stuck in the buckles. We were so excited to find her!  Sadly, we had to ‘re-buy’ it, but we got OUR stroller back!!!!

Honey-Bear sleeping all cozy.
Honey-Bear sleeping all cozy.

We LOVE LOVE LOVE our Inglesina Swift Stroller!!  And don’t ever want to loose her again. I would HIGHLY recommend this stroller or other Inglesina Strollers, if they have your desired features.

Happy shopping!!

Train to Hogwarts

No, we didn’t actually get to ride the Hogwarts Express, but our first train ride in Africa reminded me of it.  Last year at Thanksgiving, we traveled from Lang City to Work City by train.  It was our first time to travel by train in country.  And it was a six hour ride.

My Love & Bub standing in the isle.
My Love & Bub looking out the aisle window.

I wasn’t sure what it would be like.  We were counseled to buy first-class seats.  I guess that in the second-class there are no assigned seats, so there is no telling if you get a seat or have to stand or sit on the floor.  With two babies and six hours of travel ahead of us,  we didn’t really want to risk it.  So we bought first-class tickets.

And walking onto the train, you have the narrow aisle with nine compartments/cabins, just like Hogwarts Express!!  I was stoked! It was comfortable, neat & clean.

We had a good time, picnic lunch on board, and Honey-Bear took a nap in her KidCo Peapod.  We’ve taken the train several times now all over the country.  It is quiet cheap and the kids do well to have a small area they can play in and run around in.


Trains are a great resource for traveling.  Do some research to see what the train system is like at your destination (or between destinations).  See if the times, schedules and pricing works out for you.

I highly recommend traveling by train next time you travel abroad.  It is a great way to see the country, meet local people, and you can pretend your on Hogwarts Express!!

Five Check Bags

 

If you don’t know me, you’ll soon find out that I am a planner. Since we were asked to go to Africa (a year before we left) I started my ‘To Do List” and “Packing List”.   Two months later, we found out I was pregnant and our leaving date got pushed back till after delivery, but I simply adjusted my lists.

So over the year, I slowly down sized our house and belongings. When we got our official ‘Green Light’ we were given all the last details. And one of those details was: 2 bags per person. That didn’t sound too bad, but when it came down to the airline and tickets, we were only allowed five check bags and four carry-ons total.

I’m a minimalist (at least I strive to be). So I was proud to take up the challenge. We could always buy things there. Family could always ship stuff over to us (is that cheating?). But the hardest challenge by far was the bottom-line WHAT to pack.

What do you pack for a 2-month-old for the next 18 months? Or for an 21-month-old for the next 18 months? What do you pack for two winters and a summer?

We finally decided we’d take the basics: 10 outfits and 4 pjs in every size for the kids. We would buy our big items in Africa: coats, boots, & blankets. Anything electronic (movies, music) we put on an external hard drive.   We changed as many books as we could to Kindle versions. Minimized our toys to a Wal-Mart bag.

Every month I re-went through my closet and added to the box of “Not Going.” Most of my wardrobe went into that box because it didn’t meet the dress code of our new African culture or was a maternity idea I wouldn’t be wearing anymore.  Everything we weren’t taking or giving away, went in a labeled tote in the basement of our house.

I got in trouble a bit from My Love because I started packing up the kitchen two weeks before and he couldn’t find the utensils he needed 🙂 Oops!!

The night before we left, I sat on our hardwood floors and re-packed every bag. My mom came by to help and ran some last minute errands for me. With a few adjustments and having to choose one thing over another, we were done. We had all we needed to live for a year and a half in—

5 check bags, 2 carry-ons, 1 diaper bag, 1 computer bag, & a stroller.

 

Products I Love: Baby Bed Ed.

I spent a lot of time online shopping around for travel beds for our kids.  There are many to be had out there, but I had a criteria:

  • light weight
  • easy to take with us
  • fit newborn to toddler
  • reasonable price

I knew we would be traveling every three months for visa renewals so our top criteria were: weight and travel easy.  After hours of shopping online and a couple recommendations for other expat moms, I chose the KidCo Peapod.

Our KidCo Peapod

We LOVE our KidCo Peapod.  Bub slept in it a couple months as a toddler.  We moved Honey-Bear into it when she started rolling around.  It’s an easy-clean material that simply wipes off everything: ice cream, leak from a diaper, dirt. It comes with an thicker clip-on pad for extra padding. We have taken it on every trip we’ve been on.  It’s been to five countries and countless train floors.

Our KidCo Peapod at the beach

We have used it many time on the beach for a shady play spot for Honey-Bear.  She’ll sleep in it too.  After we’re finished, we just shake it off and it’s clean.  The mesh keeps the baby cool, but the small space also helps keep baby warm in the cold winter.

I would highly recommend the KidCo Peapod to anyone looking for a travel bed for baby to toddler.  It is sold at Target.com. (I do earn commission on clicks and sales through Target’s affiliate program.)

There was an old original Graco pack-n-play for us to use when we arrived.  That has been a blessing to have a bed for each kid.  We definitely don’t travel with it, because it’s a hunker.  But this summer when it was boiling outside, it was boiling inside the kids’ room.  We had had Honey-Bear in the Peapod. But after a couple naps of her waking up after 10 minutes, in a pool of sweat, we moved her to the pack-n-play for better ventilation.

Playing in the Pack-N-Play

It says it in it’s name “pack-n-play.”  Having a pack-n-play is fun for the kids. They love to fill it with toys, throw them out and re-fill it.  It is also fun for mom to put the kids in so she can sweep, read or go to the bathroom uninterrupted. I weekly us it to set Honey-Bear in while I run up to the roof to do laundry.


I know there are many travel baby beds but these are the two we have, and we like ’em!! 🙂  Do you have any favorites?

One Way to Learn—Language Method: GPA

There are many methods out there for learning language. Every persons’ brain works differently. And every person has different goals and reasons to learn. So know, there is no ‘right’ method. But we have found one we like and it has been successful.

In college I studied TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. My favorite method I studied and wrote my curriculum around was TPR (Total Physical Response) Method. The basis of this method is to try to re-enact how a child learns their first language. A child listens, sees, mimics, and learns the names of items long before they can speak. In TPR the students do not speak in class until they reach a certain level of vocabulary.

EXAMPLE OF TPR METHOD
The teacher walks over to a door. Pointing at it he says, “door”, repeating three times. As he opens the door he says, “Open the door.” As he closes the door he says, “Close the door.” He repeats this process three times. Then he asks a student, “Jimmy, open the door.” Jim walks over to the door and opens it. The teacher then says, “Jimmy, close the door.” And Jimmy obeys. The class now knows three new words: door, open, close, without ever speaking.

There are many pros to this method.
(1) You mentally don’t translate your new word into English, but directly to the object. Most methods are direct translations from ex: Chinese –> English –> the object. The TPR method goes from ex: Chinese –> the object directly, which is extremely helpful when you get to talking to people.  You cut out the ‘middle man’ of translating to English.
(2) TPR isn’t stressful. Without the pressure to say the word perfectly, the students are relaxed and learn much better—scientifically proven.
(3) Because students wait to speak till they’ve heard around 90 hours of the language, they can speak it much better because they’ve heard the teacher speak the words, sounds & accent correctly for 90 hours. In other methods, when students talk at first, they pronounce the words wrong because they don’t know all the sounds yet and it corrupts the ears of all students.
(4) Once the students get to grammar, they pick it up faster. Because of all the hearing they did at the beginning, they have a natural “this sounds right” about sentence structures (just like children do).

There are cons to this method also.
(1) It takes the student longer to speak. Because students learn like children they learn animals, colors, foods, numbers, etc. before learning conversations. This can be very frustrating to not be able to simply speak to people in the second language. But the faster you go through your hours, the fast you get to speaking. And usually once the student starts speaking they explode and can create their own sentences and express their own thoughts, rather than rote sentences.
(2) Students don’t learn grammar till later. This is hard for the perfectionist students. But the positive is once you start speaking you have already internally learned pieces of grammar from listening.

The exact method we used in Africa was GPA—Growing Participator Approach. Go here and check out this webpage of basic information.

Shopping for Airline Tickets–From My Love

In our company’s policy, once you are 60 days out from the leaving date and have 90% of all your affairs in order, you can purchase tickets. When we got our ‘Green Light’ we were stokes!! My Love had already shopped the market and had narrowed ticket choices down. He has traveled for three years with his company before this, so he knows a thing or two about where to look and how to get the best prices. Today, he is going to show us how to shop.


Okay, so the most important thing to remember is that you have to get a little creative when shopping for plane tickets. Online travel agencies are not typically set up to make it easy to find the cheapest or best options out there (contrary to what they want you to believe).

   1. Look Thoroughly

When purchasing tickets I will typically look on no fewer than 10 different websites for the best pricing. This is important because they all have strengths and weaknesses and those vary from region to region, season-to-season, or particular services and packages. For example, I have found Orbitz to be a great option when searching for vacation packages (flight + resort), however I cannot remember the last time I purchased just flights from them because they are typically not competitive.

   2. Be Flexible

The second thing to keep in mind is that you can often save a lot of money by flying in or out of different airports and I have seen the difference save me thousands of dollars in the past. There are many legitimate reasons for this and plenty that just don’t make sense, but it is important to keep in mind. One great tool I have found is Kayak.com’s “Explore” option that allows you to input an airport to leave from and then see the ticket prices for places all over the world. And the same rule goes for the days you travel. If you can be flexible up to a week it will typically save you a couple hundred dollars on an international flight.

   3. Join the Club?

Another question many people have is whether the frequent flyer programs are worth it on particular airlines. To this Isay that it really depends. For us, we are going to be living in Africa for the foreseeable future and will be making trips back to the U.S. every couple of years or so. I found that most of the flights on our particular route are with one particular airline and their affiliates, so I chose to buy tickets only on that airline. However, I know other international travelers who did not have the same situation where they lived and they just bought the cheapest tickets possible every time. It is really a judgment call.

   4. Watch the Flux

And lastly, when you are ready to purchase a ticket I would recommend waiting for a week to see how the price fluctuates. I have found that most companies are more expensive over the weekends and cheapest midweek so I typically buy my tickets on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it may vary company to company.


Thank you, My Love! He is pretty good at this stuff. 😉 Well there you go, four tips to help you shop for your next airplane tickets. Have fun shopping!!

Homestay–Living with a National Family

HOMESTAY

If you are traveling anywhere for any period of time, you should try to do a Homestay.

Defined:  A homestay is simply living with a local family.

We were advised to do a homestay when we first got to Africa.  It would help with language, culture learning, adaptation to new culture.  It would also benefit to have someone else cooking and cleaning during the time you don’t know the words for ‘egg’ or ‘toilet paper.’

My Love and I were excited by the idea of seeing what life was like on the inside of an African family.  We asked other friends and families about their experiences.  We had heard of people staying one week up to four months; and of people loving it or hating it.  The two main negatives we found were (1) not feeling like their needs were met (ex: not enough food, no shower) and (2) the pushing of their personal limits (ex: not enough personal space).

We stayed in our homestay for three months.  And overall, we were so glad we did it!  It didn’t help much with our language (because the father knew some English and only wanted to talk in English).  But we learned a lot about how a African family functions, relates, argues, has fun, etc.  We got to be a part of their holidays and extended family visits. I learned where to shop and what an average life looks like for an African woman.  We learned how conflict happens (between our two families) and how it can be resolved and have a good ending.

I realized I was coming from my “entitled American life” to people I, honestly, looked down on because ‘they’re poor or less educated, so they must not be too smart or know much about health, relationships, etc.’  I was humbled to see these people live with less, but with life and enjoyment of what they have! I met some of the most relational, giving, beautiful people I’ve even met…in our homestay.  I wouldn’t trade my time in their home for anything!!


Have you ever lived with a local family to do a homestay?

Culture Shock Waves

We were counseled before we left to watch “Cast Away.” His story shows the progressions of (extreme) cultural shock/transition. There’s the initial crash: it’s chaos; he almost drowns. But then he survives. He figures things out and his situation seems to be improving. Then it gets worse, emotions and stresses are high. There is a ‘rock bottom’ point. (I don’t want to give the movie away, so I’m being vague.) It was a little nerve wrecking to watch an airplane crash three days before flying over the Atlantic! HA! But it was good to watch and make myself aware of the ‘waves’ of culture shock.

Here is a neat chart that walks you through the ‘waves’ of culture shock from University of Arkansas.

culture_shock_roller_coaster

How to survive Culture Shock:

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