Sunday, January 15, 2012

Preparing for Reverse Culture Shock

Having traveled abroad previously has made this recent excursion "easier" than before. Perhaps knowing what to expect and the luxury of having a kitchen, has made this trip seem almost less like traveling and more like taking a step away from US life and into my alternate life that is China. What I call easier, apparently is defined by "reverse culture shock." I certainly experienced these symptoms last time I went home, and believe it is a more painful process than actual culture shock. Of course, being home with my family and friends is really nice and its great to catch up on all the lost time but after the initial stun of being home and hearing stories, you face a lull. Depression sets in, rebuilding your life is difficult, picking up is impossible; one must start from scratch. Last time I went home, I was also faced with several heavy situations, so I partly blame that and hope this time will be different. Also, its always a little embarrassing when you randomly speak Chinese to a sales clerk or waitress. Screaming "Fuyuan!" at the top of your lungs and waving your arm incessantly at your server, is not how you get your check, just dirty looks. Finding a job that will hire a 28 year old that has been out of work for 8 months is also a challenge. But I do not blog to gain sympathy, just to share. Preparing for these symptoms of depression; feelings of "what am I doing with my life" and the inevitable constipation (American food is so bonding!), I brace myself and go into American borders less blinded than before and more with the knowledge that this will happen and I'm not just a singled out mess. I go home with hope and the mind set of new beginnings. Although, I also think back to when I went home last time and remember how happy my grandma's were to see me. Nana in her hospice bed and slipping into delirium, remembered I told her I'd be home soon. And Grandma was so happy to me she cried! I will miss wandering home and into their arms, but I still have my mommy and my daddy! That will also probably cry upon my return. And of course Joey and Haley, who won't cry but will take me out drinking instead! Despite the dreaded reverse culture shock and all the things it brings, I can't wait to be with my family again, and of course, Millie!!