So, even before today, I've been thinking a lot about culture shock, and how I'm going to respond to being in London after I get there and the Honeymoon stage wears off. I remember arriving in Brasil - the honeymoon stage lasted about 3 hours, and after that I was just overwhelmed, haha. After we got off the plane and started walking around, not understanding a thing people were saying, and then that crazy ride in the van through Sao Paulo until we got to the Brazilian MTC...about the time we were out of the van and through to the first MTC meeting, my patience was starting to wear thin.
My feeling is, however, that having already gone to Brasil will make adjusting to London a lot easier. London is a big city, just like Sao Paulo. The largest differences will be the quality of living conditions - London will be much, much better than Sao Paulo. However, Sao Paulo is a placed where I have lived for nearly two years - minus a few months down on the beach - and London is untried territory. I've walked up and down the city of Sao Paulo and I know almost all of the stations on the blue line on the Sao Paulo Metro without even looking at the signs. I know the bus routes, the names of neighborhoods, the names of local soccer teams, and the local jargon. In London, I pretty much only know what I've read and seen in the prep class and what I've seen in the movies. And what Kate Fox has told me. Most of all, I don't know any people in London. For that reason alone, London will be a lonely place for the first few weeks. Sao Paulo is full of people I know - people whose houses I've been in, living rooms I've sat in, kitchens I've had lunches in. My list of contacts will have to start from ground zero in London, and that is going to take some doing. I forget that the networks that I created in Sao Paulo took months and months to develop. The fastest that I ever got to know a ward was in my last area, and there my bishop provided me with a Google map that had all the members of the ward council labeled with their home and cell phones. I'm not going to have any such list when I get to London, but I'll certainly have to start compiling one. It'll be an adventure. But, I think the faster I get started once I'm there, the faster I'll get over the culture shock. It'll be an adventure.