Cold showers with limited water pressure, lack of access to clean drinking water, change in diet, change in language, and a number of other little cultural differences were not a major cause of alarm for me. In fact, I looked forward to these differences and hoped to grow and delight in the challenges. Little did I know, these were only at the surface level of the culture shock.
Somedays, culture really gets us down. Somedays, I hate that I can't walk anywhere without being whistled at or called to (like I would actually ever respond or something). Sometimes I'm annoyed that I have to discipline my adult students in order to win their respect. Sometimes I'm infuriated when my fellow professors disrespect me by barging into my classroom-during the middle of a lesson- only to boss my students around and make it look like I have no control over the situation. Somedays I an irritated when my coworkers regard my work as unimportant and frivolous with the implication that 4 of my missing my classes would be fine for the students. Sometimes I don't have patience.
Cultural differences present themselves in ways that are often surprising- and obviously frustrating- to us. My prayer these days is for patience and understanding: please send me your prayers and good vibes on this one... I need all the help I can get!
PS My heart weeps for the city of Boston. For all those affected or connected, I'm thinking of you.
PPS The director of our program just came to Chulucanas today to check on us and to see how were settling in. He doesn't speak Spanish so this should be interesting! My wonderful mother also sent supplies down with him: much appreciated and needed!