A Wealth of Words

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Where Is My Reverse Culture Shock Hiding?

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Friends, I left you high and dry with nothing to read (on this blog) ten days ago or so. I’m sorry. Life happened. I transplanted myself back to good ol’ Austin, Texas, albeit by way of Istanbul and New York City. In the days since I last inanely blogged and whined about how hard it was to fast in the heat, I said goodbye to many friends. I said goodbye to many loved places. It was just a LOT of partings. Emotionally it was a LOT. 

I believe that it is the right of every person who has lived away from home in a foreign place for some time to make a bit of a deal about it. If life abroad has been supremely cushy and nice, you want some time to whine and come back to earth. If life abroad has been hard you want to be pampered as you detail every difficulty over and over again. 

Most of all, I think that you want to feel special. You want to feel a little different. I mean, no wonder. Abroad you get to be “foreign” and “other” and sometimes, if you are lucky, you even get to be “exotic.” As you readjust to your home culture, you want to feel that readjustment (just a little), kind of like you notice a manageable level of muscle soreness after a really great workout. Like: “Oh, I forgot that’s how we did that here. Haha. Silly me. You’ll have to forgive me…I’ve been living abroad, you see.” 

As a side note: if you’ve never read the blog Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like, you definitely should. It’s just so accurate, and therefore hilarious. I feel it’s only fair to point out that #44 is “Blogging for the Folks Back Home.” But my personal favorite is definitely “#124 Reverse Culture Shock.” 

People, kindly, have been asking about my own personal reverse culture shock. It would be so damn glamorous to say I have it. But. I just don’t. I mean, I have dredged the depths of my expat soul and there’s just nothing there. As much as I secretly wish that I could share some coy, yet suitably bright eyed and wise, explanation of my intense feelings upon coming back to America. I’ve got nothin’. 

I am so happy to be back. I mean, I’m happy I went in the first place. I lived 100%. I traveled when I wanted to. I ate what I wanted to (when it was suitably vegetarian). I drank what I wanted to (when it didn’t cost more than my monthly water bill). Stuff was hard. Life was not always flowers and sunshine, but I lived it without regrets. Now I’m back with friends and family who have accepted me back into the fold like I never left, and for that I’m extremely grateful and pleased. 

So, though I wish that I could thrash around Austin moody and full of bittersweet regrets of the wonderful culture I left (because I do believe that I left a wonderful culture), I’m happy as a clam to be back.

I’ve decided to keep up my blog to 1. catch up on a three week trip to Europe that I still haven’t blogged about and 2. because I kind of like blogging. Who knew? 

Stay. Tuned. [Oh, and seriously, read Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like. It’s absolute gold.]


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