Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Breath of Life

You'd think that writing would be easier after our move overseas, but I've found it to be more difficult. Our first month in the Philippines has offered plenty of potential writing topics, but the idea of organizing any of them in to an essay is exhausting.

There's so much information to process in the first weeks at a new post it's difficult to think, much less write. I didn't recognize that I was feeling overwhelmed until I tried to organize my thoughts into a blog. Being a former hospice social worker, I find myself comparing the new post adjustment process to Therese Rando's six Rs of grief:
  • Recognize the loss/change: People must experience the loss/change and understand that it has happened. 
    • "I'm where?! Who are you people? And what is that smell?"
  • React: People react emotionally to their loss/change. 
    • "!@#$$%% palm oil!"
  • Recollect and Re-Experience: People may review memories of their lost relationship (events that occurred, places visited together, or day to day moments that were experienced together).
    • "Remember when I could breathe inside a supermarket? Those were good times."
  • Relinquish: People begin to put their loss behind them, realizing and accepting that the world has truly changed and that there is no turning back. 
    • "I accept that the smell of frying palm oil is a part of my new world, and am grateful for the places where that smell is absent."
  • Readjust: People begin the process of returning to daily life and the loss/change starts to feel less acute and sharp. 
    • "Oh look, I can buy Wesson canola oil in the grocery store!"
  • Reinvest: Ultimately, people re-enter the world, forming new relationships and commitments. They accept the changes that have occurred and move past them. 
    • "I am fortunate that the use of palm oil in the Philippines has significantly reduced my french fry consumption."
In addition to my palm oil adjustment, there are many other aspects of change that require their own set of Rs. No wonder we call it culture shock. We are enjoying our life here and working hard on adapting our expectations. You don't realize what you take for granted until you are confronted with it's absence. Such as fresh, clean, palm-oil-free air.

1 comment:

  1. Could you ever imagine Palm Oil could be so nauseating? I like your blog, it's fun to read about your experience, I had a lot of the same feelings when we first arrived. Waiting for your own car...I feel your pain!