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Culture Shock, Jet Lag, and Heart Lag

heart lag welcome backQuick link: Jet Lag and Heart Lag

Come join me at A Life Overseas today for a discussion about the intersection of jet lag and culture shock, something I’ve decided we should call heart lag. I’m always shocked at how shocked I am when I travel to Minnesota or to Djibouti, it goes both ways. I think it is because my heart needs time to catch up, just like my body needs time. In this blog post I write about four factors that contribute to this lag.

It used to upset me but I’m coming to think of it as a chance to see these two words with fresh eyes. The fog of heart lag only tends to last two to three days and in those days I usually come up with some of my freshest observations and descriptions. Then I settle in, get comfortable, and things don’t seem so unusual anymore. The fact that everyone stands in line and stays in line and apologizes if they lightly brush up against you in Minnesota? The fact that in Djibouti I can pull up on the wrong side of the road to a vendor, wind my window down, and order my fruits and veggies for the week and that the vendor and I know each other’s names? Shocking for a few days, then normal and not even interesting any more. Until I travel again.

Click here to read Jet Lag and Heart Lag.

Helping Kids With Re-entry

Today I am writing at Babble about kids and transitions and thinking deeper than jet lag. My last post at Babble was also a list and it happened to be nine things. 9 Ways to Celebrate July Fourth Overseas. Maybe I just can’t think hard enough to get to ten.

A good friend was taking her kids back to the US after two years living in the Middle East and asked for advice. This is what came out. I’d love to hear from you, what have you learned/found helpful or unhelpful?


9 Ways to Help Your Kids Re-enter America

  • Decide to have an attitude of gratitude. Your kids will pick up on your subtle vibes. Especially when coming from a less developed country, it is easy and natural to feel overwhelmed, even judgmental. Make the conscious decision to enjoy what America has to offer – the fully stocked grocery shelves and the clothes that fit well, English menus, wi-fi, people who love you.
  • Don’t attempt to squeeze everything in. American is a land of nearly infinite options and stimulation. Don’t even try to do it all. Enjoy simple things like grass, playgrounds, libraries, bike rides, swimming, and those people who love you.
  • Give your kids words. Help them know how to explain where they have come from in their own words, appropriate for their age.


Click here to read the rest of 9 Ways to Help Your Kids Re-enter America

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