Expat Roadblocks: Experiencing Culture Shock at Home

Even if you’re prepared for culture shock, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be any less, well, shocking. And, as we’re learning already, it begins even before you’ve left the comfort of home.


Take, for instance, the Italian tendency toward procrastination. It’s well-documented, and we’ve read about it – there’s a habit in Italy to get a week’s worth of work done in a few days right next to the deadline. But just knowing about it isn’t always helpful. In our case, we’re very much feeling the deadline of the husband’s impending joblessness, and we’d like to think everyone who’s supposed to be working on helping him find a job in Italy would feel that same sense of urgency. But after repeated emails to the placement agency in Italy in early March, he finally got a voicemail from someone there last week. He immediately replied, and hasn’t heard anything since. In another case, he’s left repeated voicemails and emails with the Italian Vice Consul here in town, who’s also an immigration attorney, hoping to schedule a meeting so we can hire him. We haven’t heard a peep out of him yet.




Of course, if things play out here the way we’ve read they often play out in business, things will fall into place nicely at the 11th hour (or half past)… In the meantime, however, time ticks on and I’m biting my nails to the quick. I’m still hoping that someday I’ll get to experience the other kind of home-related culture shock – the kind where you’ve managed to make yourself so used to living in another culture that when you return “home” you’re finally able to see it through an outsider’s eyes. A girl can dream, right?

Photo by: steve_rochford

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