I hadn't realized it until I started seriously studying the language this spring, but for the past five years of living in this country, I've had my head down. Oh, I tried at first - to learn the language, to enter in - but I had two kids already, with one on the way, and they were dealing with so much culture shock that I didn't have time to mess with it myself. Instead, I put up an invisible wall between myself and everything I didn't understand. It worked. I lived comfortably that way, and probably could have continued to live comfortably for years, maybe even decades.
But this spring I've torn down the wall (or at least I've built a door in it) and I am letting in the world around me.
And boy, am I culture shocking! I'm annoyed, anxious, and homesick. Linguistically speaking, I'm more frustrated than I was before. The more I learn of this language, the more language I realize I have to learn. Socially speaking, I feel more distant. I used to think they lived next door to me, but it turns out we live on separate planets.
But all of that said, I know this is normal. It hurts to pull off a Band-aid, right? I will adjust, as Daniel did, and as the kids have done since they can remember. We live here, after all. This is where we live.