We pretty much all have training when we go abroad these days. You’re taught about the “transition curve” with its three main phases:
- the initial period of excitement at being somewhere new and different followed by
- a slump as culture shock hits and then
- the curve gradually moves back up again as you acculturate and settle in your new location – maybe after about a year or two.
This whole curve happens in re-entry too. Let’s talk about the honeymoon period.
What defines the honeymoon period?
The honeymoon lasts for different lengths of time for different people. For some, they come ‘home’ and are straight into the thick of re-entry logistics – sorting out schools, accommodation, children, parents, illnesses, jobs, you name it, it all comes at once. For others, there is a much more gradual re-entry, time for settling in before needing to find work etc. This can have an effect on how long the honeymoon lasts.
But short or long, the honeymoon period is defined by that excitement at being somewhere new (or possibly rediscovering somewhere familiar in this case). When things seem rosy and fresh. You’re enjoying catching up with people you haven’t seen. Family are pleased to see you. Things that haven’t been available to you are easily accessible.
I remember loving turning the tap on to find a steady stream of water coming out. Savouring the taste of bacon (we had been in a Muslim country). Turning the heating on at the switch of a button. Starting to make a new home. Seeing friends. Getting the children together with their cousins.
Making the most of the honeymoon
How can you make the most of this time before culture shock hits? You will probably have more energy at this point in your re-entry than later on when you’re in reverse culture shock, so use it! Here are a few things to think about during this time:
Enjoy it! Savour the times when you are loving being home. Record them in a journal. Use the energy you have to see people, recall favourite places and make visits.
Practise gratitude. Be thankful for the good times. Write them down, make a conscious practice of noting them at the end of each day so that you have something to look back on.
Reflect. Allow yourself time to look back on your time overseas. What have you learned, what do you not want to let go of? What do you want to let go of?
Dream. Start to dream about what you would like for the next phase of your life. Collect pictures that attract you, make a dream board, allow yourself to think uncensored about what could come next. We don’t have many opportunities in life to start over, but re-entry is one of them.
Plan. Use your dreams to make plans. Be intentional about what you would like and how you could get there. If you write things down and make your goals specific, you have more chance of making them happen. Keep revisiting them to see how you are getting on, what tweaks you need to make and what new goals are needed.
Enjoy your honeymoon!
11th July 2018