Do you know what reverse culture shock is? Well, let’s start with just culture shock. Culture shock is something that happens when you go abroad. It’s being shocked about all the different culture, unfamiliarity, and overall everything new that you can experience in another country. It’s a disorientated feeling that you can get due to the differences between this new place and what you call home. Even homesickness can come into play which is when you feel a longing for being back home and with your friends, family, and everything familiar. So back to reverse culture shock.
Can you now guess what this means? It’s the feeling you get after being away in another country for so long and returning back to your own. Everything is new again, and you just don’t know what to do with yourself. Well, this has happened to me just this past weekend! If you don’t know already from a few previous blogs, I am an expat in Thailand. I have lived in Thailand for over two years now without visiting the US at all. This past weekend I changed all that I finally made my first visit back.
I initially flew in to New York City, because what better way to welcome myself back to the good ‘ol USA then the iconic New York City. I ate all the Western food I could stomach for the weekend and saw some old friends. New York wasn’t too big of a shock because it’s still such a diversified place. I flew in and immediately was greeting by airport signs in German, Spanish, and English. I saw advertisements for Korean banks and ate Mediterranean food as my first meal back. My home is in Florida, and while still a diversified state, it still doesn’t even touch New York. So now that I am back home, I’m feeling slightly out of place. What happened to being able to walk everywhere?
In Florida, as it is for many states, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to get around without their own car. I haven’t drove in two years! Also, what about a lunch out with friends? I am used to paying nothing more than $3, and that’s for a nice lunch. Now, I need at least $10! I am wondering how I will adjust as it’s only been a few days now and I am happy and excited catching up with friends and family. I think I’m still in a cloud of excitement and slight shock. However that will soon fade. Will everything go back to normal? Will I even be able to afford everything I used to have?! Everything is still new and weird for me now. After over two years it’s going to be hard to live like I used to.
I don’t have my own apartment anymore, my own car, my old jobs…. It will be interesting. Have you had culture shock before? What about reverse culture shock? What do you miss most from home, or the opposite, from the country you now call home, when leave it? From Thailand, I already miss the ease of transportation and not needing my own car, I miss the cheap prices, and the easier lifestyle overall. It will be exciting to see what happens to my life over the next few months of being home. As for now, it’s time to catch up with more friends and family!