Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entering the Last Phases of the Cultural Adaptation Cycle

This comic, again from State magazine, humorously depicts how many in the foreign service experience cultural adaptation between posts. The different phases of adaption are typically reviewed in A-100 and Spouse/Partner Training, but the focus is usually on the beginning phases and re-entry, since they tend to be the most dramatic.

We are entering the Pre-Return (and then leave again) Ups and Downs. Where did the time go? I haven't started all those cool projects I intended to do after we arrived in India. Can you believe we still haven't unpacked all those Ziplock bags full of items from our "junk" drawers in D.C.?

It's time to fit in all that was intended to do over the two years in the last several months. And then start the cycle all over again for our next post.

Chart from University of Calgary's Cross Cultural Living.


Anonymous said...

I left you a comment a while ago complimenting you on how how you embrace the culture you are living in. I love it!
We are still awaiting the final suitability. As time ticks on, my emotions swing up and down, like you mention with post adjustment. I go from "This sounds amazing and so exciting for my three kids!" ---> "What am I crazy? I have a 4 bedroom house and a 2 car garage...we will move to a 2 bed in Oakwood...really?"
Any advice on dealing with the roller coaster while being the spouse and mother?

Natalie Buda Smith said...

Thank you for the wonderful comment.

Congratulations on getting this far. My money is on your family making it through and starting a new life.

I will never forget the feelings of anticipation: will it happen?, maybe it won't." Your whole life is up in the air, and then it happens. Then you start to get anxious about finding out what your first post will be.

If your family is adventurous, it is amazing and exciting. We find it well worth "selling the farm" for the opportunity. This lifestyle isn't perfect and you may need to work to make it what you expected but you and your family will definitely have the opportunities to do many things not available while in the U.S.

The only advice I have for the roller coaster ride is to try to enjoy it, which is definitely hard to do!

Keep me updated!