Reverse culture-shock is a doozy. I mean, it seems crazy that you can be disoriented when you go back to the place you have lived your entire life. But currently, I am living it.
It’s not that I am rolling around all day crying over England, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. While I feel like I’ve changed, it’s as if after coming back to the same place, it seems like I haven’t even blinked. Sometimes, it feels like the past three months were just a dream.
I still have three weeks until classes start, so I guess by the time the semester starts, I’ll be fully acclimated to being back in the US. I can definitely vouch that it isn’t a piece of cake though.
There have been a few things specifically that have been throwing me off my game:
1. Missing my study abroad friends. I was very close with my international friends because we did almost everything together. Since I am only working two days a week right now, I am having trouble filling up my free time, which makes me really miss the faces who filled my days the past few months.
2. Paying for gas. Wait – you mean I have to pay for that stuff that makes the car go? Bummer. No more places to walk anymore.
3. Working. Lucky for me, I really like my job but being back in the office is disorienting. The last time I was at work it was summer so, when I walked outside after work the first time back, I entirely expected it to be 90 and sunny. It was a bit of a shock when it was 30 and windy.
4. Home friends. Things have changed for a lot of my friends since I was gone. For one, a lot of them have graduated and, most of them don’t live near me. Not to a bummer, but after spending so much time with my international friends, it’s a little lonely.
5. Shopping. I still can’t help but multiply prices by the conversion rate even though in my mind I know it’s dollars and not pounds. Not having to spend almost double for every one currency is definitely a nice change on my bank account.
6. Talking about being abroad. I find myself not really wanting to talk about study abroad to most people. That seems bizarre, but I just find it really hard to relate so much in such a small amount of words. It’s almost like I know in my head, I can’t do the experience justice in just a short part of a conversation.
7. What do I do now? Study abroad was like an endless sea of possibility. I think it’s natural to come home and feel like…now what? 2013 was all about going to England and now that it’s over, it’s like I dropped my kid off at college and, now, I’ve got to figure out what to do with my time.
If study abroad taught me anything, it’s that I’ve got to keep pushing myself. This time last year, I was visiting my school’s study abroad page for the very first time. Now the question is – what’s the goal for 2014?