Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Culture Shock is Real

Today marks leaving home exactly a week ago. Up until now everything, well besides that whole airport fiasco, has been terrific. I love Buenos Aires. I love the people. I love the Spanish. That is until today when I had a minor moment. Tears were almost shed, but I managed to keep it together.

I was in this cafe 2 blocks down from my house. Being confident in my ability to order stuff now I thought I would chill out there and have some hot tea, because that's what you do for 70% of your day in Argentina, no joke.

At first I wasn't sure if you ordered at the counter or sat down and were waited on. After awkwardly standing there a minute or two, I just sat down. When the waitress came over I said, "Me gustaria te, por favor." And she just stared at me. So I repeated it. Then she said something in Spanish and brought over another waiter and handed me a menu. It seemed like either tea wasn't an option or she didn't know what I was saying but I assumed that meant I should order something else.

I couldn't read anything, but I recognized dulce de leche and just pointed at the thing that said that on the menu. Then I impulsively ordered a caramel brownie because that's what I do when I feel uncomfortable. Seriously, I have bought so much crap because I was nervous and didn't know what I was agreeing too.

That dark deliciousness at the bottom is dulce de leche.

So I ended up with a cappuccino (I don't like anything coffee so that was no bueno) and a huge caramel brownie with whip cream on top and chocolate drizzled over it. It looked delicious and the cappuccino at least came with a stick of milk chocolate and a small chocolate biscotti thing, the LOVE their chocolate here. At this point in the story you think, oh good the that's not so bad.

And it wasn't until I realized I dipped a large portion of my hair directly into the chocolate drizzle which then dripped all over my sweater and my pants. At which point it dawned on me that I couldn't even laugh about it with the waitress because I couldn't explain what had happened.

I can honestly say that the most painful feeling in the world is the inability to communicate with others. Thank God this is something I can fix because it's hell to not be understood by anyone! If you know me, you know that talking is my favorite thing to do. I love to tell stories and jokes and a major part of my personality is missing when I lose the ability to do that.

It occurred to me that I am stuck here in a foreign country for the next 4 months. Even though it's not so long, at that moment it seemed like a pretty damn long time.

I thought maybe I go lucky and had bypassed culture shock because I had made it a week with feeling perfectly at home, but it sneaks right up on you. The comforting part is that it will pass. This feeling isn't forever and it happens to everyone.

My new, more pickpocket proof (hopefully) purse.
On the bright side, though some retail therapy made my day a little better and they even threw in some candy with my purchase!

Notice the adorable little hearts
So if and when you experience culture shock, it's okay. It sucks, but it happens to all of us and we handle it in different ways but you'll make it through. Even writing this has made me feel 100 times better!


No comments:

Post a Comment