Last week I recognized two instances of culture shock. When we arrived in Lisbon, I felt as if I came out of a time warp. Being in the busyness and culture of Lisbon, the pace being faster than the last 5 months really shocked me. I remember being seated at a restaurant on Tuesday and massaging my temples to relax a little from the culture shock I was feeling. Coming out of the slowness of Santa Maria da Feira to Lisbon actually exhausted me!
Here we are a few days later in the beautiful Algarve and I had another instance of culture shock. For the first time in months, I felt as if my mind could finally relax as I heard only English being spoken around me. I recognized that I carried a certain tension by not being fluent in Portuguese and having to always be in listening mode to understand what people are saying.
I once heard that some digital nomads experience this shock of moving from slower paced countries to the fast paced ones. They eventually find themselves energized by the fast environment, then leave when it becomes too much for them. They thrive by cycling through life this way.
I had a moment of thanking God for the British expats and their community here. This is the oxymoron. It feels a little strange to hear only English! I feel like a puppy that's now discovering new territory. I can open the window and yell in English and someone will understand me! Today I feel as if I am giving myself permission to just be me. What would make my day really special is if I can find some English fish and chips as a treat!