Before I left SNC (oh so many moons ago, now) we were told about culture shock, and the signs and/or symptoms associated with it. The list is scary: feelings of sadness/loneliness, insomnia or sleeping too much, smallest problems seem overwhelming, etc. It’s all extensive and very heavy, which is the exact reason I was on the lookout for it as soon as I landed here in Perth.

What I was looking for exactly, I didn’t know. I may have been expecting a big, hairy monster to be the vehicle of culture shock, and he’d scare me one random day by popping out of my closet. This did happen and I managed to get a picture of him:

So the monster thing didn’t happen, nor did culture shock.

The reason for not experiencing culture shock could be a plethora of reasons, but I still experienced shock when I got here. I didn’t notice it at first, but after two weeks of not eating real food I analysed the situation and concluded I wasn’t spending money on food because everything is so expensive here. Eventually, I learned how to shop frugally by going to the last day of the fresh food market when vendors are so desperate to get rid of their food, and get steals and deals on fruits and vegetables. I’d eat for at least four days on that, and then eat Tim-Tams (and rice).

Perhaps if I were staying longer culture shock would occur, but I am leaving soon. And I’m so incredibly excited to eat cheap food.

Cassie Brayton is studying abroad at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.