Routine reduces cross cultural stress
I am so reminded of the importance of routine!! In my home culture, I have margins, stability and can get away with a lot of serendipity. BUT, being in foreign country, even a western one, has reminded me of the importance of routine! I found myself after a week of travel and arriving in the temporary home during language school, counting the steps from the bathroom to the place where you wash hands. My brain was fried and I was starting a new program. Everything is a teeny bit different. Typically, in Europe, the toilet is in a separate place from the sink and shower/tub. I found myself establishing basic and simple routines and found relief in them! I found myself asking basic questions, where do I wash hands? We are living on a campus and have a coin laundry. We are only here for three weeks, but Saturday is laundry day and that fact reduced what I have to think of...
I very quickly made up a chore chart for the kids. Also, I established a vision for WHY we serve each other because we so quickly reduce to the Morrow version of Lord of the Flies. The kids immediately embraced and adapted to the new normal. Reduced stress for all!
Micah, not so much, but my daughters and especially the older, Emma Shae have a higher need to establish place. Emma Shae has done this since she was a toddler. She would unpack her things and make a corner that was all her own. In Albertville, she named our place and put up signs for her and Mallory. She also hung the sign of welcome from our friend Sarah. We found muffins on our first night and a welcome note!
Although we are only here for about 3 weeks for school, it is still rigorous and stressful. Of course, the stress is balanced out by the beauty of the French alps, the French people , this awesome school and our wonderful community. and ice cream and Bordeaux.... BUT all the same... cross cultural stress is still cross cultural stress! Routine reduces cross cultural stress.