Tag Archives: inter cultural

Home sick and getting used

Culture shock part 2, disintegration stage

Today I was late, got lost, stuck in traffic, food burned and the children got grumpy too, instead of a bit understanding and compassionate. 
I learned that there is a bridge which opens every hour and rush hour starts at 5 pm, my oven is a hot air oven which is hotter than I expected.
It was one of those days, nothing – even the simplest of things- worked out as planned and expected.
“I want to go home, I want to go back, where life was not so complicate and I got the feeling life run more smooth; Where I knew how to use the oven, where I knew where and how to avoid traffic, where my children were at ease.
I can’t go back – I know-, but still I’m temporarily homesick.

The first half-year after a (international) move seems to be one concatenation of those days in which nothing seems to work like you’re used to, there’s nothing you can do without thinking and every single little core seems to cost a lot of energy. Specially when you’ve got a family to organise and look after! Don’t be surprised if you’re tired a lot and got less energy, it will take about a year.
Not everyone does understand what you’re going through and why you seem to get upset about small things. People who moved (internationally) and know what a culture shock is will recognise this, they know it’s not the big problems but it’s the amount of daily little struggles.
This struggle makes you want to go ‘home’.

In culture shock terms, we call this the disintegration stage. Lost the ‘old’ ways, lost routines and not found new routines yet.
The days you feel completely lost will become less as you get used to the way things are organised and find new routines.

In time I will get used to the oven, in fact it’s much easier when it cooks faster and more constant; I already know that I should avoid that bridge and found some short cuts.
I know I will get used to my new environment and even will appreciate the way things go here. But I’m not there yet.img_0116


A fairytale, a nightmare in continuation of 1001 nights

Once upon a time there were 6 brothers in an old middle eastern region. The parents of the brothers had died a long time ago.
The biggest and oldest brother was the boss in the family, he felt responsible and thought it his duty to keep the brothers under his reign, according to his values of good and bad.
4 Of the other brothers had some value and significance on their own.

The youngest and smallest brother though was rebellious, he was blessed with an intelligence and an open-minded brain. He wanted to develop his own values and wanted to play football with his neighbours just as with his cousins. Like every up growing up teenager he wants to find out himself how the world is working and this little brother is strong-willed, equipped and determent to do it.
But the family doesn’t allow the young brother to develop and doesn’t forgive his adventures, with all the mistakes people make, growing up; People who seemed friends turn out differently, values and circumstances change.

The big brother was given some tools from a far away uncle, who wanted to keep some influence in the extended family, not looking at this family itself.

One day the little brother said that he liked his neighbour; not that he was going to marry the daughter, not that he was going to invite them for diner, not that he wanted to be like them.
But it outraged the big brother and the other 4 brothers, who had different reasons for being angry at the younger brother and joined the older brother.
They denied the younger brother his food and move freedom within the house. They grounded him, but the little brother has got a window and a mobile phone, so he can call delivery services ad he has his own flying carpet to fly out.

He can but will he do that? It might outrages the brothers even more, and they might put bars up. Or close up his mobile account? 
But he knows he’s got some friends who will help him someway.

What’s happening next is depending on how a mature and wise -adult the older brother is. Will he use the tools he got to keep his youngest sibling under his control or will he use his wisdom and guide this younger brother to adolescency and give them all the chance to find out what input this growing up brother can have in his family?
And what will the young brother do? Will he bow -for now-, or feeling pushed away and moving to the neighbours?
He won’t be the first black sheep in a family.

Knowing the region and family life a little bit, one would tend to think that the big brother would pull his fist, if only not to lose face, but on the other hand….. I know how wise and gentle the older men in the family can be and able to solve problems and situations with grace leaving everybody in his value to maintain the good family.

Culture Shock. part 1

I can’t deny it anymore. Within 10 days we move out of Qatar to the Netherlands. 
We’re in transition mode;
The household is being divided in; what’s going to ‘suit case’, ‘freight container’ and ‘what to be sold’; The heart is out of the house, it’s not a home anymore;
Everybody is agitated and sad.
And we have to bid our farewells to people whom we know we’re not going to see anymore.

The transition stage is the first stage of a culture shock.
Culture shock is the anxiety and emotional stress when your physical surrounding and people change; When you come to live and/or work in different circumstances as what was considered normal, felt familiar and comfortable. 
It’s a process of change in your identity; process of letting go old values, expectations, behaviour and thinking patterns and adopting new ones.

Transition/detachment stage; 
The transition and detachment starts in the current country, when the decision to move becomes a reality and you’ve to start planning and thinking ahead; It’s the start of ‘letting go’ and saying farewells. You come to realise what you’ve got and what you have to let go.
For most people it’s a time of strong mixed feelings; Excitement (positive and negative) of the new adventures ahead and the grief of letting go.

For me, this time, this transition, I miss the excitement of a new adventure as we’re going to our home country. I know what to expect and not to expect.
Yet I already know I will have a difficult time to adjust again because it won’t be the same as I’ve got a lot of expectations and I’ve changed too. 
I do not have the curiosity and flexibility in my mindset to accept my new surroundings in the way they are now as they won’t be the way the were when I left.

I’ll miss the people, the friends, the community we belong to.
I’ll miss Qatar’ I love living in a country which grows and see changes for the better; 
I’ll miss the weather, the warmth and the sun. 
I’ll miss my freedom.

screenagers culture shock


Usually  I have different cultures in mind -in the sense of nationality and background-when I’m writing about differences between cultures; how to acknowledge them, accept them and FeelGood with them. That’s my field of expertise.
Today I want to share another kind of differences and background, culture with you. 
The differences between older and younger generations. 
I’m not a pediatrician but as a mother of 4 children I feel like an experienced expert.
 My children grew up in all kind of different countries and with different schooling systems so I think I’ve got some divers comparison.

Although our children live in the same environment as we do, they have a totally different background end experiences then older people have. Because of the fast changing technology and possibilities more than ever.
As parents we can’t rely on experiences of our own youth anymore. Internet and globalization have changed our whole environment and not many things are the same anymore. While in the previous times people could rely on generations of experience in ways of education.

Because of all those differences I find that a lot of older people are condemning the youth and the way they deal with their society.
For example, all the negativity older generations have about how youth use their screentime.
“They’re always staring at their screens!” 
There are a lot of biases about the use of all different devices.

Nowadays Work/study is mostly done behind…. a screen; recreation, by playing games, watching television or reading is done ……..behind a screen; listening -even making music- can be done….. behind a screen; Social contacts….. behind a screen, organising your life-…….
Older generations grew up with a distinction and a clear balance in time and location between work/study, recreation and socializing. 
This distinction now is almost gone.
It’s a bit hypocrite to blame the youth for this. They just don’t grow up with that ‘good old fashioned’ distinction and balance. They’ve got a complete different frame of reference, a complete different reality of work/study, recreation and socializing.

I think it’s useless to condemn these new technologies as -be honest- we all use them more than we would like. 
And would you like to go back in time?? Not me! I love being able to show and share my photoos, have conversations with friends all over the world, watching my series while running in the gym, having my books with me without carrying all those kilo’s and killing trees for paper, Finding answers for all my questions. 
This is the ‘screenage’!

It’s like all culture shocks; deep personal values, believes and convictions are shown, we have to acknowledge and accept that and make it our own.
A lot of our values and convictions have to change to accept this new age.
People are not very good in changing values and believes. But we have to! We as parents have to guide our youth in this new age.
And it’s a big guess what’s the right thing to do as we have no similar experience or examples.
I’m honest about this to my children, I’ve got no clue. But I know the basic needs of every human. physical and mental health. So they must have physic exercise, even if they use an app for a training schedule, watching tv, or listening to music.
It’s the mental health I do worry about. The fact that there’s no distinction or balance anymore. Not only because the possibilities to focus are less but also to give the brain a rest.
The reaction of my child: “Oh mama, but I’ve got an app for meditation and yoga which teach me to meditate”….
Do trust our youth that our youth are good humans, the way how, is up to them, we can only keep in contact and guide them.