It is sure quiet around here this morning. Ethan has been at gymnastics’ camp all week long and returns this evening, so there have been no children around since Hannah’s early Wednesday departure. It was probably best that Ethan was gone this week. He missed out on my emotional roller coaster; not that it is bad to see, but a 14-year old boy doesn’t always know what to do with his mom’s emotions.
It is funny, I haven’t had any contact with Ethan since he left, a week ago. He loves gymnastics’ camp and doesn’t want to be bothered by calls home to mom. Still, it doesn’t hardly seem Ethan has been gone, whereas Hannah has been gone just three days now, and it feels as if she has been gone for weeks. I guess the difference is the extreme distance. I left Hannah’s favorite cup sitting out on the counter, unwashed, until this morning–just to remind myself that it hasn’t been that long since I last saw her wandering through the kitchen.
She and I have had some regular email contact, which seems to have proven helpful to both of us. She has been having a difficult adjustment period. Last spring, we attended a Rotary session on culture shock as a part of her training. It definitely seems she is experiencing culture shock right now, as well as a good deal of homesickness. I just keep encouraging her to give it time. The New Global Student also has a great section devoted to culture shock, which has been helpful to me as I balance my concerns for Hannah (when her sad emails come through) with also knowing the logical and predictable steps she will be going through on this journey. The different phases of culture shock are much like the cycle of grieving. In fact, I suppose they are related. When you are in such a vastly new culture, I suspect your body is actually grieving the loss of the familiar.