Overcoming culture shock

Before I moved to Madrid in January this year, I had little knowledge of Spain, its language or its culture and had previously only visited on the obligatory family beach holiday to Majorca.  To say I dove in head first would be an overstatement, more like a belly flop with fingers crossed.  It’s a big step to say you’re going to uproot your life, leave friends and family and move to another country.  When you move abroad, it’s a fairly sure bet that you will
experience culture shock at some point.

The first thing I had to adapt to was the eating time, something I think most expats living here would say.  Large lunches at 2 o’clock followed by a 30 minute siesta.

Simple things like crossing the road became tricky, as I was prone to looking the wrong way, since we Brits drive on the opposite side.  Greeting people every time you come home or enter a shop.  Call me anti-social but I don’t always say ‘Good morning!’ when I go into a shop.

After a few ‘discussions’ on the general culture shock subject with my Spanish boyfriend, he told me I needed to be less uptight and more relaxed, the pace of life here is slower than that of other countries I’ve lived in.

Perhaps he is right, the key to overcoming culture shock is to relax and let it roll over you, like a culture wave.  This way hopefully you won’t drown, but might end up enjoying the ride.

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