Sharing this is a little embarrassing, but I do it for a few reasons:
1) To let future study-abroaders know that they are not alone in feeling frustrated/discouraged while experiencing culture shock.
2) That culture shock does happen and can be severe–certain destinations are not for the faint hearted–choose wisely.
3) To cope with my feelings and say GOODBYE to them! πŸ™‚

I am admitting that I have now experienced TRUE culture shock on what is my 3rd study abroad trip. I have had many ups and downs these first 3 1/2 weeks. I was often discouraged by my classes, people, transportation, boredom etc. At one point, I truly considered coming back home.

However, things are now back in perspective for me. I came to Lima to accomplish certain goals of mine:
–Experience a new culture for a longer period of time than I ever had before (my other two study abroad were one month apiece)
–Become more fluent in Spanish
–Take Quechua lessons
–Challenge myself and grow my levels of confidence, independence, and travel skills

These goals are definitely works in progress, but I have already gained some unexpected lessons from my first 3 1/2 weeks. It never hurts to get old ideas reaffirmed in new, memorable ways πŸ™‚
–Things are not always as expected. You have a choice to give up or get tough.
–Lima can be liberating. Studying abroad can liberate you from outside pressures that you never realized existed. For example, in the future I might want to settle down in a place that is smaller and very different than Lima. (But now having experienced life in other cities: some in the US, as well as Guadalajara, Oxford, and now Lima,) I wouldn’t be doing it from pressures such as fear or ignorance of the unknown. [I think prior to coming to college and studying abroad these might have been issues for me]. I would be doing it because I CHOSE to, knowing about and feeling confident in a variety of different atmospheres. I am ready for whatever challenges life throws my way–I can feel confident living wherever I want or need to! Lima has liberated me from fear, ignorance, prejudices, taking things for granted, ….the list could go on.

Yes combis are a little gross, tiring, and incovenient. Yes, I often think that people could benefit from some manner lessons. Yes, I miss my comfort food, friends, family, and boyfriend–my support system. Yes, I’m often bored because I don’t know how to get around and do things.

–I will most likely get the chance to drive a car (not ride in combis) for the next 30+ years. In addition, the system really is quite ingenious. How else are you supposed to get 8-9 million people around? If everyone had their personal car, there’s no way–and their economy can’t really support adding new infrastructure like a subway. Plus, it gives the cobradors, drivers, and the men with the clipboards jobs!
— Ppl are bound to be rude, and I’ve got to let it go. Also, sometimes being pushy might be their idea of a perfect tool for getting things done here with so many people and chaotic circumstances.
— My food will be there when I get home, and when might I get to experience real Peruvian food again? I’ve just got to choose wisely, and thank goodness my stomach has finally settled WAHOO!
— My friends, family, and boyfriend will always be there for me no matter what the distance, and absence really does makes the heart grow fonder.
–There have been days in the past I would’ve killed to be bored so I should find a good book or movie. Besides, the city and getting around will become easier.

I am determined to spend the next 14 weeks of my trip soaking up all the experience (good and bad) that Lima has to offer (and learning and growing as a result)!

Hopefully we find something to do for Semana Santa weekend! We started planning a little too late :/ …oh well!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It’s my favorite holiday! Will someone PLEASE eat a Cadbury egg for me??)

And look out LIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


One Response to “The glass is (now) half full”

  1. Jennie and Spencer on March 31st, 2010 8:33 pm

    Bobbi- Spencer wanted me to tell you that he will eat a Cadbury egg for you! He was so excited to receive you letter! He has hung it in his room. He is planning to send you an email. We hope you have a very Happy Easter!!!!!! Love, Jennie and Spencer

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