Sunday, September 15, 2013

So What Happens Next: Overcoming the End of the Honeymoon Period

I am so excited to share some great news: Today I am guest posting at Found Love Now What. Over there, I am talking about the honeymoon period of travel, and telling you story about when my honeymoon ended in London. 

Because you love me, I know you'll go over there and check it out. Plus, this post will make a bit more sense with the background of my guest post. 

And if you are over here from the lovely Belinda's blog- Aloha and Welcome! Many thanks for stopping by, and I hope you stay awhile.

{Vancouver, Canada- Since this is an after the honeymoon post, I thought I would share a picture of where Matt and I honeymooned.} 

 Since I talked about the honeymoon period over at Found Love, I wanted to talk about how to overcome the end of your honeymoon period. What to do when you are stuck with culture shock and feeling a little depressed about your move.

When we are traveling, especially for long periods of time, it can get easy to start resenting your experience and the place you are in. That is completely natural, and I think needed to start truly experiencing the place you are in. To be a traveler is to see the good and the bad of a place. 

But how do we get out of that culture shock funk? What helps us move on? 

I've been thinking about that lately because I know I am about to hit the end of my honeymoon period here in Korea. I can feel it when I go to the grocery store and can't find Three Cheese Macaroni (don't ask me why all of a sudden I am craving it). I can feel it when I can't understand any thing that is said around me. I can feel it when I see whole squid and octopus for sell in the seafood section of the grocery store. This does not mean I don't love being here; it just means life is about to get a bit hard for a little while.

So I've come up with a plan to try to make the transition from culture shock to acceptance run a bit more smooth, and I hope this can help you guys. 

Here's what I've come up with: 

Put up pictures of your family- This always makes me feel tons better. When I see the faces of those back home it makes me feel closer to them. If you have a work space, bring pictures to work as well. You will love seeing them, and I'm sure your co-workers will as well. Speaking of family, I swear by Skype. I think this past month has been so smooth because I get to see my family via Skype. Just talking to them for 10 minutes can make such a difference in my attitude. 

Make a list of all the things you enjoy about the country you're in- If you can find the positive in the place you're feeling negative about- it might help pull out of the culture shock. For example, I always feel really happy when we visit our favorite Korean BBQ place. I love the owner and I love the food. I know when I start feeling down- I'll be going there a lot. Focus on what you like about the place, and try to ignore what you don't like (at least for the first little bit). 

{Mmmm Korean BBQ} 

Give yourself a break- I am a strong believer that you don't have to immerse yourself in the new culture 24 hours a day -7 days a week -365 days a year. Go eat a McDonalds. Go watch a movie or your favorite T.V. Have a weekend just relaxing by yourself doing what you want to do. I often feel like because we are in Korea, every waking moment that we are not working we need to be exploring. That is not the case. Sometimes you have to just relax. 

Instead of thinking 'This is Weird" try "This is Different"- I am having such a hard time with this so far because Korea is very different. But to truly get past culture shock we can't think weird weird weird- it's just different. Weird has such a negative connotation. Whereas, different is more neutral. Different doesn't mean it's bad. I think by changing our mindset in this small way could potentially have huge rewards. 

{Matt and I on the Island of Hawaii aka The Big Island} 

Be honest with what you didn't like about your home country- It's easy to put our home countries on a pedestal. When we get into this culture shock phase, everything back home is better. Phrases like, "Well in America we do..." or "Americans don't...." But let's be honest- our home countries are not perfect. Try to remember the memories that make your home country real. For example, I hated my hour commute to and from work when I lived back in Hawaii. Or I hated how expensive Hawaii was. If we can remember the real moments of home it won't hurt so bad that we are way. At least that's my theory. :) 

{Sunset Beach on Oahu. This is where Matt and I lived for the first two and a half years of our marriage. This was our after the honeymoon home.} 

And lastly, Research your country- If you are having a problem with a certain aspect of the new culture you're in, research it. Try to see the reasoning for why they do certain things. If you don't like a certain food- try to see why it's so popular. It might not make you all a sudden love the practice, but you will understand it better. And through understanding there is tolerance. 

If you are in a new place and are feeling overwhelmed, just know you are not alone. This happens to everyone, and it's perfectly okay. I know for a fact getting over culture shock is an ongoing and active process, but it is definitely possible. 

I know this list won't solve all your problems, but I hope it helps a bit. 

So what do y'all think? Could this list help ease culture shock? 

If you have any comments or suggestions to add, I would love to hear you comments. Again, those that have stopped by from Found Love Now What thanks for reading. Make sure to check our Our Story to learn more about us. 


  1. I'm definitely trying these tips! My hubby and I currently live in Hawaii and I'm very homesick for the mainland. Thanks for reminding me of ways to beat that "after the honeymoon" feeling.

    1. Elizabeth- What part of the island do you live on? We lived on the North Shore for over four years. I definitely understand your homesickness. While Hawaii is beautiful and totally awesome, it is really hard being so far away from your family. Plus, tickets home are so expensive (at least for us- our home is in Georgia). My best advice is just try to remember how lucky you are to be with your husband in Hawaii! Most people go there for honeymoons, and you get to live there. While it's not perfect all the time, Hawaii is a pretty cool place to be. PS- If you could send over some Chicken Long Rice and some Kailua Pork that would be great :) mmmm and some Hurricane Popcorn :) yum yum. Thanks for your comment and good luck in Hawaii.

  2. Such great tips Alex!! For someone who knows they're going to go through it and want to be ready to tackle it, I most definitely think this list is helpful!! Our first place to land when we moved overseas was Russia. Now living in our 5th country I think there are degrees of culture shock. Moving to England has been nothing like moving to Russia! Of course, I speak the language (for the most part ;)) and their culture isn't so vastly different from mine as was Russia. Each move has been different, but our first was the hardest in language and culture! Great post Alex! This is a topic I am constantly mulling over in my head and find it interesting how each person goes through the honeymoon phase and beyond.

    1. Tina thanks so much for all your comments! I definitely think the honeymoon period and the culture shock is different depending on where you are. Moving to Hawaii had a bunch of obstacles to overcome that were different from moving to London or now Korea.

  3. I wanted to invite you to the Friday Flash Blog Party, the best linky in town! I hope you'll join us and link up. Who knows. You may just get highlighted!

    The party goes on ALL weekend.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution


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- Alex