Last week was what I’ll just call an ‘expat’ week.
It’s the kind of week I had semi-frequently in Ukraine and I’ve certainly expected them here too. After a month in the country, I closed up shop. Went all introverted and emo, and just shut myself off from the world as much as possible.
I’m not sure what triggered it in this case, but it could have just been the fact that it’s been a month and perhaps subconsciously I was like, “OK, time for a breather”. I don’t know.
Unfortunately, it’s harder to deal with this semi-depressed / culture shock / homesick state when you have two children. And a nanny who is here daily and thus a witness to my self-indulgent behaviour.
In Ukraine, the Mr always knew when I was on a downer because he would come home at 9pm and I would be on the couch with empty chip and chocolate packets next to me, under a doona, watching reruns of ‘Location, Location, Location’ while it snowed outside, and there would be no dinner cooked. And I would usually burst into tears when I saw him and cry about how someone was mean to me in a store, bumped me in the street, couldn’t understand what I needed at the bank, or mocked my Russian pronunciation at the markets.
Here, I don’t have those excuses. Firstly, the path I tread in Dili is very much geared towards English or Portuguese speaking expats (or both). It’s been a UN post for 10 years now, it’s a small city with a small population and the UN contract here has been extensive, so the effects of outsiders on the country seem to be very far reaching. There are still small misunderstandings, but nothing major like our phone or power being cut (as happened in Ukraine a few times because I didn’t understand how to pay the bill).
Still, it’s a different country and it takes energy when out and about because things are still foreign – even just figuring out what to cook with the ingredients that can (and can’t) be found here is a bit confounding at times. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have an oven or a grill.
So last week I retreated into myself a bit. I watched a lot of movies and TV, read a few books and a few fanfics, spent way too much time daydreaming and being all round self pitying. I fell off the radar, so to speak. This is a new week though, so I shall embrace it and rouse myself from my reverie.
Have a great week!