Culture shock when moving overseas

Hello peeps

Cultural shock just seems to creep up and get you !

I know for me it has really taken me by surprise sometimes 🙂

When we 1st started this worldwide moving thing 11years ago now. We left the UK with high excitement and expectation. We thought we had planned for everything and worked out most potential pitfalls. But wooooooow! How wrong we were!

We left with this expectation of  “Well it’ll all be fine we all speak the same language” and I’ve watched enough shows about America and Australia what could be so hard ???………..

When we 1st arrived in the USA we were so ignorant about so many things !!

Oh yes indeed we were. From being called “Mr and Mrs”,  or being “Miss Sarah” to children, rather than just Sarah. Our kids had to learn yes to say “Yes Mam” and “No Sir”, the culture was far more formal than anything I had expected. We had to learn a whole new way of humour, as the British sarcasm is not so funny where we lived, and we got ourselves in some hot water on occasions desperately trying to backtrack and explain we were only joking 🙂 oh la !

There was no jay walking ( had to cross on crossings ), no going into the class room to drop off the kids, no walking to and from school making new friends as we went. No popping to the pub for a roast on a Sunday, or sitting in a pub garden late into a summers evening with friends.

Where drive through everything’s are everywhere. From the school drop off line, to the chemist and dry cleaning. All these were awesome but you know what, they all just made it lonely as you never got to really interact with people from the security of our big truck. There was no playgroup’s to stay and play at and meet new friends. So yes friendship making was different over there.

But we learnt and we adapted, and we made friends with some of the best neighbours ever and we truly lived the dream of popping across next door all day every day, and we came to love it so much!. Those days of never ending summer vacation when everyone migrates to the beach, any beach 🙂 , those amazing golds and reds of the leaves in fall, the snow days the kids prayed for and loved. The street parties and cookie swops became my way of life and I loved it! because it became home! and was our new normal.

Then just when it all had become normal, we up’d sticks and moved across the pond to Brisbane. And everything was thrown back into the melting pot again, kids calling me Sarah, not Mrs W or Miss or Mam, which had become that respectful normal and now was gone. We were back to the school gate drop off which I love and again dear friendships were made. But we lost the intensity of the sports programs where we sat for so many hours on weeknights, making those friendships as practice ran 5 nights a week for all sports and all kids.

We discovered coffee is an art form here  in Oz and not to be messed with, although why don’t coffee cups have those awesome little sleeves they did in the USA for when that cup is just too hot to hold. We walk places again, and get out of the truck to walk into shops. There are no snow days and no reds and golds. But there is so much new beauty to see and explore from the hinterlands here in QLD and the beaches like no place else in the world and Kookies sitting in trees singing their hearts out at all times of day and night ( not so keen on the night have to admit ) And learning not to be terrified of the billions of things that can kill you here, as in reality they probably won’t 🙂

The list is endless of what we have learned and how we have grown, but underneath we see that even though we may speak the same words, where we come from does indeed create so many differences between us all. And these we have learned to embrace and learn from, even if it does on days make us long to be with those who operate in a way that is familiar to us, it can make us so lonely at times and yet at others so grateful that we get to experience such diversity in our lives.

I know we as a family have changed and grown over the years, picking up different parts of places where we have lived and adding them to who we are as a family, helping to create the rich tapestry of our lives.

Moving countries can take us by surprise in what it can bring our way, I know it certainly has for us ! And yet we would have it no other way 🙂 We are so blessed to have met so many wonderful people and our perspective on how others live has widen so much, to encompass the rich variety of people and places that this amazing world has.


The Joy Girls xxx


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