After five months of being excited about being in Japan, my “honeymoon” period suddenly wore off and I was irritated over every little thing.
“It gets dark too early.” “It is freezing here.” “The snow will never end.” “How can I live off this income?” “There is no one my age” “There is ‘nothing’ for me to do.” “There are too many meetings.” “Decisions take too long.” “My friends and family at home need me.”
Starting to think only about the negative things is a normal part of the acculturation cycle. Thankfully my negative slump only lasted two weeks. However, this is not the case for everyone, some struggle with it for a long time.
Successful acculturation is all about perspective and perseverance.
When you first arrive, you enjoy all the new experiences and see only the blessings of living in your new country. It is a positive but one-sided perspective. However, over time you start to miss the blessings and experiences of your home country and start to focus on the things your new country lacks. It is a negative and one-sided perspective.
However, if you persevere through this slump by taking God’s multi-view perspective, the positive and negative views and feelings will mold together. Then you will be able to love and appreciate both your old and new countries.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8–9 NIV)
Written by Brittney.