1. Culture Shock is Sneaky | Ali's Adventures
    May 14, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    […] Then we went to the grocery store to stock up for the week. I can’t figure out the cheese here because most of it is just labeled with whatever Swiss valley it’s from. In the States, I mostly bought provolone. If it’s even available here, it would only be at some specialty cheese shop and I haven’t gone looking for one of those yet. But I also like cheddar, especially shredded in the fajitas we make once a week. They don’t sell it in the cheese aisle, we have to go to the dairy counter. Like the deli counter in the States, except they have an entire display of nothing but cheese. Not only is cheddar 16.90โ‚ฌ per kilo (US$22, and a kilo is 2.2 pounds) but they don’t even have it all the time. So on the same day as my bank irritation, the grocery store was out of cheddar cheese. […]

  2. Cheryl @ handcraftedtravellers
    May 1, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

    Completely understand. As an expat living in Hungary for the last 6 years I have learned to let go of a lot. Cheese is a hard one, since I grew up eating Wisconsin cheeses, my uncle was even a dairy farmer! Hungarian cheese, don’t even mention the butter which has nothing to be desired. And coffee, oh the organic coffee of the west coast…and the sourness of coffee here. Good thing for online shopping!

    • Andrew
      May 3, 2012 @ 9:21 am

      Thanks for the comment. We need to practice letting go, but it is hard. Somehow it is hard as there are teasers of things being available, but not quite. The cheese just being the trigger.
      I have heard people mention online shopping for food a number of times. I really need to look into that,who do you use?

      • Cheryl @ handcraftedtravellers
        May 3, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

        Online shopping? Well, it depends, since not every company will ship to Hungary we usually “shop” through a friend or relative, less and less though. We are saving up to get our own cow, so I better like the cheese that I make ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Andrew
          May 7, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

          Wow, your own cow. That is pretty adventurous, but I am definitely a city person.

      • Jill
        May 3, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

        • Andrew
          May 7, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

          Thanks for the links. “thankfully” we didn’t see anything that would tempt us to pay the prices.

  3. Jill
    April 30, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    Andrew, what you are feeling is totally normal and truly never goes away. I would have moments even after living there six years in which I would cocoon into my little American oasis in the midst of Bonn, occasionally buying American groceries through an online ordering service (Arizona Green Tea! Welch’s Grape Juice! etc.). Now that I am back in the U.S. I still have moments of high and low when I miss Germany. It’s tough to be stuck between cultures, but life is so much richer for it.

    • Andrew
      May 3, 2012 @ 9:19 am

      I like your phrase: “Itโ€™s tough to be stuck between cultures, but life is so much richer for it.”
      That is very true. And once you launch out of one the stuck seems to be permanent. As you say, you miss Germany from the US and we miss things about there from here. I normally do really well, but in the last week or to been having one of my down cycles. It will pass, but it is good to talk about. Thanks for the comment and words of support.

  4. Jeremy Branham
    April 30, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    When I’ve traveled for a month or so, my frustrations build. I know how you feel about little things. However, I can’t imagine having those moments where you can’t escape. Like you, I just need a little down time for myself – a place to escape. And that must be really hard to do when a place doesn’t even really feel like ‘home’.

    • Andrew
      April 30, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

      It is weird. This place does feel like home. Well in here, not out there necessarily. A home as an island in a sea of chaos, although that makes it sound far more melodramatic and severe than it really is most days.

  5. Andrea
    April 30, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I can completely understand how you feel. Dealing with the system in a new country is never easy, and even after living in Australia for years and speaking the same language, sometimes things there would just really get me down.

    We’re trying to be really patient in Norway at the moment with all the getting settled stuff. Some things have been pretty frustrating. I think if I hadn’t have already gone through it, I’d be a lot less zen.

    • Andrew
      April 30, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

      Good to hear that it isn’t just the language thing. That, for me anyway, is just a symptom of the stress, when the language gets to me. Because most days and times I have no problem with it.

      Patience is a good thing to learn. I keep trying, but learning patience takes too long.

  6. Heather
    April 29, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

    No matter how long we’re on the road, the homesickness or challenges seem to come and go in cycles! We miss home, we adapt, we thrive, something happens to trigger missing aspects of your home culture, you settle into your new one again.

    *BIG HUG* to you two! In my experience, it’s helpful to know that “this too shall pass” and you have the right mind set — but you still have to stick out the rough patches! And I know you will.

    • Andrew
      April 30, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

      Thanks so much for your words. It is good to hear.

  7. Kristi
    April 29, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Thanks so much for this post! My first month in Germany has been anything but easy and I’ve gone through all the feelings you’ve mentioned for sure. It is utterly exhausting constantly trying to use another language and adapt to another culture. Nothing comes easy….even the littlest thing like buying cold medicine when you’re sick. Thanks for this honest post….glad I’m not the only one out there feeling this! I have a friend who said that the thing about living abroad is that your highs are way better, but your lows are always way lower. So I guess that’s the deal with it. Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Andrew
      April 30, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

      Nope, this life isn’t easy at all. It is worth it in the end, but as you have found out pretty exhausting. You are definitely not alone in these feelings. I’ve not heard that about the magnification of things, both low and high, but it does make sense.

  8. Michelle | Bleeding Espresso
    April 29, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    All so very true. I’ve been living in southern Italy for going on nine years, and although the “cheese” type of moments don’t come nearly as frequently, every now and again there’s just *something* that I wish were a little easier, or a little more like I used to be used to it being, or just, at its core, emotionally difficult — being away from loved ones, especially on important days in their lives, is by far the biggest suck factor for me at this point, though. A different kind of cheese, if you will ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great post.

    • Andrew
      April 30, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

      Good to hear confirmation from a longer term expat. I don’t get these moments as often either, but when they come they are a doozy. I definitely wish there was a way to call “timeout” and have everything be easy for a few days to recoup before going back in. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work like that.