You come back home from a year and a half of living in a completely different culture and it’s as if you were never gone. But you leave parts of yourself back where you used to live, and it takes a while for those parts to come back to you.
You catch up with your family at a Starbucks as if you never left, but you embarrass yourself at the counter by ordering in a language other than English. You ask for directions at a convenience store and are shocked when the cashier doesn’t know and would prefer you didn’t ask. You sit down next to a couple chatting and are surprised to hear you understand everything that couple is saying.
You wake up in a bed.
You take a car everywhere.
That’s what it ‘s like being back. It’s as if I’d never left, but at the same time like I left a huge part of myself abroad. The reverse culture shock is not a huge and prominent thing, but it is a series of small things that underscore a person’s experience abroad. Most of the time, it’s harmless, but other times, I’ve felt completely out of place. But that only lasts for a moment, and the next moment, I’m back home.
I think the hardest thing for me to deal with is the jet lag. I go to bed at 2 and wake up at 6 a.m. But I sleep at 12:00, I’m dead tired at 4 p.m. but I’m wide awake at 11 p.m. And in the morning, I crave steaks, burgers and other dinner foods; at night, I don’t want to eat a thing.
Overall, I’m happy I’m back. I have about a year to chase a dream, I get to see my family and I get to take what I learned abroad and apply it to the real world.