When culture shock starts to get easier

The bell just rang and the birds are singing spring. I also just helped a bee escape my apartment without losing my cool, so come at me world! What a difference a few months makes! I had heard that months 9-18 are ROUGH for expats. I’ve since realized I was living that and wasn’t aware of it. I used to grip so hard into my negativity, but now that I’m on the other side of 18 months, I feel like I can suddenly breathe a bit easier. I’m starting to lean into my life here a bit more and I’ve noticed a huge difference in mental wellness. The whole ordeal is somewhat reminiscent of shifts I felt in Korea after 9 months down!  I’ve been living in Florence now for one year and 8 months and I’m finally starting to feel a bit more rooted here. My parents visiting was a huge part of this positive transition. Bless their tired feet! First, let me show you what we did::


Jet lag is real



Showing them around made me take ownership of where I live now and the life we have here. Their presence here made me realize that I’m a part of my own family now: me and Ivan. It might sound silly, but last time I saw them when I visited them in August 2017, I felt like identity-wise I was first and foremost their daughter and then sort of on the side also married now. Excuse the cliche-ness of this but I’ll say it anyway; marriage is a big life transition and it doesn’t happen all at once the instance you’re officially married.

Of course, I’m not any less their daughter, but I’m also Ivan’s moglie. I’ve mentally danced the line over my full commitment to living here for so long. FULL DISCLOSURE:: On good days, I am all-in and completely committed to making everything work out in our complicated intercultural marriage and on bad ones, I think about cutting and running and going to teach English in Japan. That’s not to say we’re done sorting things out. I could write a book on what it’s like being married to someone who doesn’t speak your native language.

I think the magic is in being patient with myself as I figure all this out.

Italy has problems, but so does every other country on the planet.

Blaming Italy and Italians is just a cranky never-ending struggle fest. (And it doesn’t help that Italians love to complain about everything that is wrong with their country and then never do anything to improve things). My life certainly doesn’t always look like me sipping Chianti classico with my hair washed, but every once in a while, I do get to do that. I’m really quite lucky. Plus, Past Christine would tell Present Christine to get a grip!


swear I didn’t pose for this, I was just really into the chianti classico


6 thoughts on “When culture shock starts to get easier

  1. Hey Friend!

    Just wanted to point out the missing ‘s’ at the end of “starts” in your title.

    Love this post! I felt some of the same things about identity after I got married, but I’m sure it is only magnified by living in a different country and speaking different native languages.

    Proud of you!


    Sent from my iPhone

  2. “Taking ownership” of where you live and your evolving identity with it is key. Great post — I felt many of these same sentiments when I was first living in Italy!

    1. You’re so right. My identity has definitely shifted living abroad. When my parents came to visit, it became really apparent the little ways in which I had “italianized” without realizing it. In some ways, change is inevitable and that’s ok 🙂

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