Anticipating Reverse Culture Shock

So, I’m realizing that this whole experience of being back at home is going to be a little strange.  In writing yesterday about all of the things that I’m missing so much about home, I started thinking about how foreign all of those things seem to me now, and that got me thinking about how weird it is going to be to do all of those things and about how weird it’s going to be for those things to be weird.

There’s so much I’m not used to.  I’m not used to driving.  I’m not used to being able to find all of the products I’m looking for in a store, and I’m not used to being able to read all of the labels.  I’m not used to conversing, as a matter of assumption, in English.  I’m not used to smiling at complete strangers or having them smile back.

It’s going to be weird.  I’m going to be weird.

I’m excited to get to do all of these things that I haven’t done in over year, but I’m aware that I’m not going to do them quite right.  I’m gong to be just a little off in just about everything I do.  I’m probably going to stare more than I’m supposed to.  I’m probably going to fumble for words when starting a conversation.  My sentence structure, even in English, has definitely changed, and I know my pronunciation has become Austrianized (which, I’m pretty sure, is a word I just made up).

It’s really a strange feeling.  I’ve spent a year being very aware of how different I am from the norm here, and being a little self-conscious at how I stand out.  Now, I’m preparing to visit home, and I’m realizing that’s all going to be true there, too.  I’m just going to go home to the States and be exactly who I am here, just in English more of the time.

And that’s actually pretty cool.  A year ago, I went from being generally comfortable in my home environment to being utterly awkward in a new environment.  This year, instead of being dictated by my surroundings, I’m just going to be me — slightly awkward but generally comfortable anyway.  That’s just who I am right now.

2 thoughts on “Anticipating Reverse Culture Shock

  1. I was freaked out when I came home from Paris. I was homesick, but not for the US. Everything that I loved about America started to bug me and I couldn’t wait to get back “home” to France.

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