Up until now I would have sworn up and down that I haven’t been experiencing any culture shock. And I’ve been lucky in that respect considering I’ve been here for two and a half months.

I can vividly recall the exact moment culture shock set in while I was living in Poland.

It was exactly two months after I moved. The wonder and incredulity of actually living somewhere I  thought I would never have a chance of living had been slowly wearing off for a few weeks.  And then Winter Storm 2010 hit and the trams and buses came to a screeching halt. The metro was packed, people were stranded all over the city and I was walking in a foot of snow trying to make it to class on time because my school had threatened to dock my pay if I showed up late.

It sank it  very quickly that I was surrounded by rude, cold, and simply nasty people. Everywhere I went, that day and every single day after, people were busily sharpening their claws on one another.

In the days that followed that I realized I was miserable in PL and I often wondered why in the world I had ever moved there.

It was a feeling that didn’t wear off for another four months.

Here its different.

Though the days are getting darker faster, and the temperature is slowly falling, I’m still sitting here writing this while wearing a t-shirt and shorts. It gets dark at five, not three thirty. The leaves aren’t changing, and it’s still over seventy degrees outside.

For the Taiwanese, its cold and everyone is bundling up in hoodies, tights, and thick winter pants. Then they get in doors and blast the A/C at 65 degrees. I can only laugh.

How do I know it’s almost winter? Well, it hasn’t stopped raining for the past two months. Literally. Today, the sun dared to shine for a  while and it just kept right on raining! I like a rainy day as much as the next person but that’s just ridiculous.

Even with the rain the people are a lot nicer here and they go out of their way to help strangers out. Very few are actually rude and, in fact, sometimes they are overly nice. I haven’t been called beautiful by so many women in my entire life. It’s often crossed my mind that I’ve moved from the world’s rudest country to the world’s nicest.

Yes, some of the food is strange, but it tastes so good! After hours snack? Fried squid and mushrooms. With pig blood cake, of course!  How can you go wrong with those kind of delicacies? I’ll never have Taco  Bell or a Kebab after the bar again. Ok. Ok. I’ll have a Kabab. But definitely not Taco Bell.

The dumplings are amazing, the sauces are amazing and I’m even starting to like Tofu. I never thought I’d hear myself say that.

So everyone is nice, the food is nice, the weather is decent. The modernity is definitely very nice. Why, then, am I in such a shitty mood? Sometimes, I just want to sit in my apartment and never come out. I hit the gym and I feel great. For an hour. But after the adrenaline high comes the inevitable crash and I’m back to where I started. When I’m out I want to be home, and when I’m home I want to be out. When I find a book in English, I get excited, but then I get snarky because I can’t find one in Polish.  I can find the cheap yellow American mustard that  I love and salsa that is actually worth eating, but I’m also stuck with crappy American wonder bread and no delicious chewy Polish bread in sight.

It’s difficult to miss America because all its worst products have made their way overseas. On the other hand, I miss Poland. Just a teeny teeny tiny bit.

I’m surrounded by new friends yet people are so overly nice I actually sometimes miss the brutal frankness of the Poles. I miss the old world manners (even though those didn’t show up that much in PL either). I miss getting kissed on the cheek in greeting instead of full body contact hugs. And I really miss hanging out with people who get me and laugh at my stupid jokes. I know they’re not funny, but they got laughed at anyway. And it was nice, dammit.

Whether its culture shock, or I’m just in a crappy mood, I can’t really tell but I really hope I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow.

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