Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Adjustment

Memory tells me yesterday she went to visit her aunt, who has Typhoid fever. 

So I start thinking…typhoid, typhoid… I know I’ve heard of it. But what IS it exactly. Is it a communicable disease? Am I at risk? Did I get immunized for this? So I consulted my ‘The Traveller’s Good Health Guide’* book. Not in a paranoid, hypochondriac kind of way. More in a ‘I’ve run out of DVDs and have resorted to watching Meg Ryan DVDs I’m so bored at night’ kind of way. 

Anyway, turns out I am immunised for this. Good news. It does not sound like a fun thing to have.

Paging through the book, I came across something that appears to chart my exact emotional state since being here. Called the U-curve of adjustment to a new culture. It looks like such:

Untitled

That’s me up there! They’ve charted my time here. I think I’m in between ‘depression’ and ‘recovery’ right now. 

Description for Depression:

The excitement and newness wear off. Irritation at the hassles and inefficiency and annoyance with your companions take centre stage. You feel homesick, miss your friends, the parties and good times – and all your home comforts. You wonder whether you can possibly last out the rest of your assignment – and so do your friends and relatives, who get worried about what you say in your text messages, phone calls and emails.

I couldn’t have written it better myself.

So I can now look forward to Recovery:

You start to value the good experiences and cope with the bad. You are missing the people and places back home much less. Of course, despite integrating these aspects of your life, you still have some bad days. 

That doesn’t sound so bad, now does it.

When I hit ‘acculturation’, I’ll let you know. 

* A book VSO supplies to us before we depart, and a book I’d highly recommend to anyone travelling to areas where medical care might not be top notch and/or immediately accessible. To prevent any serious paranoia about why you will usually always have unexplained bites, bumps, itches and never quite feel hundreds when you’re in the back of beyond.

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