Scale of Seven
The moods can be defined as:
0 - I'm so miserable, I'm moving back to Canada
1 - It really sucks here. Like, big time really, really sucks.
2 - What did I get myself into?!
3 - I'm not particulary happy here.
4- This place sure is ... interesting. Do I like it here? (waits for answer) Can someone please tell me what to do?
5- Maybe I like it here. Maybe this is a good thing.
6- It's pretty cool here.
7- Can't imagine my life any different. I am so lucky for this opportunity.
If I put a chart of my moods, on average, month-by-month, they would look something like this (yes, I am an analytical dork):
The first few months...they were pretty good. Everything was SO new and exciting, any negative feelings were easily pushed aside. I was really unsure of myself, but it seemed okay. But then when that started to wear off, and I realized how HARD things can be, how DIFFERENT things are (and they weren't going to change), I just lost hope. I remember one of the things that challenged me the most was the poverty. I couldn't understand how I lived in a life of excess where people less than a kilometre away from me were suffering from a lack of food and clean water. I hated a world like that. I still can't make sense of it, but the intensity to which it bothers me is less.
From everything I've researched, this is pretty common in the expat life, especially the first year of adapting to life in another country, culture, etc. There is an adjustment phase that is "often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. This is where excitement turns to disappointment and more and more differences start to occur, Depression is not uncommon. ".
Well, that makes me feel a whole lot less crazy, because April and May would some pretty crappy months. There were SO many calls to Canada, crying, wondering if I'd ever be able to make it through. I just kept saying to myself, wait until the one year mark is up. So glad I did, because after a rotation back in Canada, and a month later, I was back to feeling like myself again. Phew.
I still get annoyed, moody, and cranky that there are things that I try to do that just aren't as easy or as intuitive to me like they were in Canada. Life here is still different. I still complain. I still have more bad days than I would like....but in general? I'm sooooo happy to be sitting around the 6 or the 7 mark again!
I wonder if year two will have so many ups and downs? I'll cross my fingers and hope not.