As part of our preparation for our move, Jamie, myself and LBean participated in a day-long culture training about China. Something that we heard from our cultural trainer and from other ISEs (international service employees) is how the days and weeks will cycle through. As with life in the United States, there will be good days and bad days, but when a family is on an international assignment everything is magnified. So the bad days can be really bad, but the good days can be really great. Therefore, you live for the great days.
There is actually data on how emotions cycle during an international assignment. Typically there is a honeymoon period in the beginning where everything is new and it is all an adventure. At about three months the newness wears off and a feeling of not having at "home" in the US and not being settled in the new country takes over. Then, there's an upswing for a few months and another dip around six months. For us, the three-month mark should be around the time of our first R & R trip (rest & relaxation vacation) and the six-month mark will be Christmas in the States with family. I hope the timing works well for our family and smooths out some of those low points.
So, as Phil would say on the show, "The Amazing Race starts now!"