I stepped off a plane into the summer heat of Casablanca, Morocco with my two boys (3 and 5 years old). It was August of 1997. My boss and his welcome committee all ended up on vacation the week we arrived.
“That’s ok, we can do this!”
We were excited for the adventure before us and easily sloughed off getting lost in a taxi with no cell phone. We didn’t get outwardly frustrated trying to find food in a store where we couldn’t read the labels. Even trying to find our own housing with no native English speaker to help was ok . . . for about a month.
We started off with the honeymoon (link to culture shock graphic) excitement and joy that you may remember. But over time, the stress of cross-cultural living settled in, and we began to carry around the weight of it. Now, after all these years, we not only can look back and identify the stress we faced, but we can more easily see it in the new people that arrive each year.
So what are the common stressors we see?