Reverse Culture-shock

One thing foreigners like to talk about when they go back to their home countries is “reverse culture-shock.” Basically reverse culture-shock is what some people experience when they return home from living abroad. They have gotten comfortable in their new lives and life went on without them back home so when they do go home, it can take a bit of adjusting. We have been back in Orlando for a couple of days and while the culture-shock has been rather limited (nothing really drastic we had to readjust to), there are a few observations I have made.

1) America is so clean! You can talk about pollution in the states all day long, but until you go to China you have no idea what pollution is. In China, it also isn’t just the air and water pollution, but China is just plain dirty. Trash and grease and mud and smoking are just everywhere. While waiting for our connecting flight in Chicago I saw the most amazing, colorful sunset I have seen in years. It was breathtaking. You can barely see the sun in China, much less enjoy a romantic sunset. When I saw it, I just stopped in my tracks and was like “Seth! Seth! Look! The colors!” Then we flew into Orlando late at night, and the view of the lights from the air was just gorgeous. The whole world below looked like a Christmas tree.

2) American food is delicious, but it hates me. I have had a pretty bad stomach ache after every meal I have eaten since I got to the states. I didn’t think it would be an issue because I eat McDonalds every so often in China, and I have been to Hong Kong a couple of times and ate Western food there. I also cook Western food rather regularly, so this constant sickness is just something I did not expect. Taking Pepto helps, but I HATE the taste of pepto. I would almost rather be sick than take pepto. Blech! (PS. Mt Dew is still the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet. It is really bad for you though, so drink it sparingly.)

3) I can’t sleep. I’m functioning on a fraction of the sleep I usually get. I have only been able to sleep for about 2-3 hours at a time and not very deep. I was able to get deep enough into sleeping last night to dream, but it was a nightmare (someone was trying to kidnap me!) so I had to wake myself up and I didn’t get back to a REM state after that. I’m doing surprisingly well, though. I’m not groggy or anything, just concerned it is going to hit me all at once at some point and just knock me out.

Those are just initial thoughts on being back in the states. If you’ve ever been out of your home country, did you have any reverse culture-shock on returning home? What was your experience?