Dictionary.com defines culture shock as “a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment.” During our time in Romania, Kacee and I both had our share of bewilderment and distress! As I’ve said before, “if we had a dollar for every time we asked ‘why,’ then we would have been able to stay a second year for free.” Probably the greatest advice we received prior to our departure was from our friend and mentor Teri McCarthy; “When something seems odd or different than you are accustomed to, just remember, it’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just different.”
I’m sure I could blog on a weekly basis for at least a year on our culture shock. Where to begin? I guess the logical place would be the first case we (Kacee) came down with. She has been begging me for weeks to blog on her first case of culture shock anyhow. For those of you that know me, you know that I would never attempt to get a laugh at someone else’s expense, especially my wife! However, she has just begged and begged. So to make her happy I will share it with you guys.
After living in Romania for about three weeks the wheels came off a bit. To set the stage let me tell you a bit about our first apartment. It was a one bedroom, one bath apartment with a small kitchen and living area. It was furnished with aged furniture (putting it nicely). I still remember watching the Olympics on our 15 inch black and white T.V. with rabbit ears. Now Kacee and I are not needy, needy people, but the floors were not quiet up to our standard to say the least. They were wood and you could almost grow vegetables in the cracks. We were on the first floor so we really didn’t want to open our windows because they were eye level to those on the sidewalk. Did I mention we did not have AC? We also did not have a washing machine, so we washed clothes in the bathtub. Got the picture yet?
To make things worse, we were beginning to discover the true cost of living in Romania. We had based our budget on general assumptions from other professors living in Romania. However, Timisoara is further west and apparently the cost of living was a bit more that our colleagues. Out of a complete lack of judgment and sensitivity I shared my concerns with Kacee. So really I’m to blame for this culture shock. Mater of fact, I’m pretty sure I felt to blame for everything, including the relocation.
Looking back I’m not quiet sure why I was shocked to return home to a completely dark apartment. As mentioned above, we lived on the bottom floor so we usually kept our windows shut. Since we lived on the bottom floor our windows also had security shades that blocked out 100% of the light. It was no surprise the windows were closed, but I was a bit caught off guard that all the lights were off. “Why are you sitting in the dark?” I asked. “Because we don’t have any money to use the electricity,” Kacee said! (Ask a stupid question…) To know me and Kacee is to know that I sometimes (okay always) exaggerate things and Kacee sometimes (okay always) reacts accordingly. She calls this “adding spice to the story.” I obviously “added spice” to the fact that we had no money, and that things were going to be tight going forward. I can admit that today!
Looking back, we can have a big laugh (unfortunately at her expense). Funny thing is Kacee has always feared Teri would use her as an example when training new professors! Let me just say (covering my tale now) that I have the sweetest, most supportive wife in the world. Had I chose to move to some African village and live in a grass hut, Kacee would be by my side. We’ve been to Romania, Houston, and back and forth to Lubbock a number of times. She’s always been by my side as my biggest fan and supporter.
The truth of the matter is that Kacee and I both believe God never calls one member of a family without calling the entire family. When He called me to Romania, He called Kacee as well. That’s why we made such a good team. Thanks honey for your support (and the laugh)!
Aspire to new heights.
6 days ago