Thursday, 1 October 2009

Culture Shock

The three phases of culture shock, as expressed in my reaction to blackouts:

  • Phase One: Honeymoon Phase

    Wow, a blackout. How exciting. I’ll go out onto the balcony. Look at the street! Surreal. No lights. No electricity hum. Is that a shooting star? No, a firefly. The street is dimly lit in black and white by the sliver of a moon. So many stars. This is stunning. Magical. We should have blackouts in England. People would stop what they were doing and just take a little moment to think and be still. It would be great. How beautifully calm it is. Serene. OK, there’s howling dogs and a truck thunders past every two minutes, but otherwise it’s amazing. I could just sit here and take this in for hours.

  • Phase Two: Negotiation Phase

    Lights click off. Fans wind down. Thirty seconds to save my work. Comeoncomeoncomeon savesavesave nononono dontfreezeupdontfr[CLICK]


    How does anyone get anything done in this country? Can’t they manage to keep the power on for one day? Now I have to sit here and sweat out my liver. No fan, no aircon, no breeze, no light. Hot, stagnant, clingy, sticky air. Nothing to do but ooze and wait. How long today? They could at least tell us. Or warn us before hand. Or something. No wonder nothing works.

  • Phase Three: Adjustment Phase

    Oh, a blackout. [gets torch, lights candle, carries on cooking]
Unfortunately, it’s nothing like that simple in other respects. In most elements of life I think I am just approaching the border into phase two. This is virgin soil, uncharted territory. I’ve never been anywhere properly foreign long enough to get past phase one before.

Wish me luck!

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