Monday, July 16, 2007


RE-ENTRY BLUES

REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK
Yup..Michelle, Elijah and I are going thru the re-entry blues. I think they call it reverse culture shock. Its when natives find it hard to adjust to their home culture because they've lived elsewhere for a very long period. I guess its inevitable for us; hey we've been out of Singapore for 14 years! We've consciously and unconsciously imbibed some of the cultural patterns, customs and language of Bolivia. Returning to Singapore, in our case, once in a while, for furlough did not affect the inculturation process in Bolivia

THE STUFF WE MISS
Michelle misses creative ministries, her home, bed, friends, dogs, and daily routine in Bolivia. Elijah is still coping with the loss of his friends both in School and Church. I yearn for frontline ministery: preaching/teaching, training, planning, counselling, strategizing etc...

Life is simpler in Bolivia. Choices are limited, be it the food, products and transportation. In Singapore, the malls sort of makes one wander all over the place. There many types of toothpaste, an incredible variety of food in the various food courts and consumer products in every nook and corner. Eating and shopping is less complicated and cheaper on the pocket in Bolivia.

I personally miss the Bolivian mass media. The talk shows and local press are a mixture of silliness, drama, irresponsibility, fearless investigative reporting etc. Evo Morales and his Vice President say things which would make us gasp at times. Yeah.. never a dull moment in Bolivia. Well, its a little different in Singapore; the mass media here is relatively sedate but also a little sensationalist at times, especially the afternoon edition newspaper.

GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING
Its not that Bolivia is better than Singapore or vice versa. We are grateful for the incredible prosperity and efficiency of Singapore; and with time we'll probably get back into the swing of things. This however in no way obliterates the need to manage and work through the issues related the reverse culture shock. In fact this post is part of my therapy!

Living overseas has its pluses. We learned a new language, Spanish; And so we speak to each other in Spanish in the underground trains or when we dont want to embarrass ourselves in front of others. Folk in Bolivia greet one another with a hearty hug and a kiss on the cheek. In Singapore a handshake is about where we're at in terms of a warm greeting.

There are of course a hundred little matters which cause us our heads to swirl.

Its all part of the re-entry blues!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

im bored here...

Raphael Samuel said...

oh dear...bored of S'pore?

Anonymous said...

Raph and Michelle, so you're back in Singapore! Wow - yes its a huge adjustment, well at least that's what I found. A wise woman suggested that I looked at the book of Ruth and Noami's change in role. That was very useful. Personally I'm beginning to really enjoy my new life in St Helens, and the challenges at times seem very great. We hold onto things lightly now. God bless you all three in your adjustments and remember to be kind to yourselves and not expect too much too quickly. love, Sally B

raphael said...

wow great to hear from our friend, Sally, in merry england...