No, this is not an article on marital advice. The honeymoon I’m referring to here is the first phase of adaptation to a new culture.
When we move to a new culture, in general, the first phase – that can last a week or a couple of months – is the honeymoon. During this phase everything is exciting. We feel a sense of adventure and want to try new food, get to know new people, visit new places. At this point we feel more like a tourist than a local.
It’s a great phase, of great pleasure and enchantment. And it’s understandable to want to make it last longer. The reality will eventually set in and we will lose this feeling of novelty as time passes. In this article I give you some tips on how to make this phase last longer and ways to recover some of the excitement when the adjustment starts to feel difficult.
PREPARE BEFORE YOU MOVE:
It might seem obvious, but many people forget to prepare themselves before the move. As preparation I mean getting to know a bit of the geography and history of the new country / culture, as well as the language. The more you learn before moving, the faster you will learn and the more likely you are to enjoy this phase longer. Learning becomes part of the enchantment, and one thing is for sure: you’ll be learning during the whole time you’re abroad!
As much as possible, delegate the boring stuff. If you can hire a company to deal with the bureaucracy and getting settled in, do so. In destinations that receive many foreigners, there are many smaller companies or individuals that will help you with the boring stuff for a small fee. These things must be taken care of and the more help you can get, the longer your honeymoon will be.
GET READY FOR THE END:
I’m sorry to say, but the honeymoon will end. At some point you will realize that you have a routine and probably feel culture shock (see here how to deal with culture shock). While for some people routine is boring, for others it is a source of emotional safety. For most of us who are somewhere in between, moderation (like in most things in life) is the way to go. When things start getting too boring and predictable, take a day off and be a tourist again. Take the tourist route and look for things you haven’t done yet, places you haven’t visited yet. There’s always something new and just a little bit of novelty can go a long way in lighting the spark again.