Reverse Culture Shock

I’m back in the US for just two weeks, and here are the top 10 things I find myself surprised by, ‘back home:’

  1. Driving on the right. I keep checking if I’m on the correct side of the road or not!
  2. Polo in Cold WeatherThis is something unique to cold places in the US: people wearing t-shirts in -5 degree Celsius weather. I saw a guy in a polo shirt in the Walmart parking lot, while I was wearing 4 layers of clothing. Later, I saw two different guys in hoodies. When it’s actually snowing on you, put on some clothes, people!
  3. (I hesitate to say this, lest I jinx it, but:) The cold not being that bad. Upstate NY SnowAfter months in SE Asia, I expected to be frozen, but my same clothes that I’ve had since London – plus my aunt’s boots and my grandma’s gloves – are sufficient for me to feel quite warm.
  4. The food. Pretty much all of it makes my stomach hurt, because of all of the additives, vast quantities of mayo and oil, etc.
  5. Such good phone reception! I like VoIP, and I feel very lucky to be able to talk to people while on the other side of the world, but sometimes, calling my sister back every 5 minutes is a bit frustrating.
  6. My long-lasting jet lag. Even after several days, I keep falling asleep at 6 or 7 pm and waking up at 4 am. Oops.
  7. How strange it is for anyone to walk outside. I can tell you exactly how many people I’ve seen walking on the sidewalk since arriving (3, 1 of whom was a runner!), because everyone drives everywhere. Sadly, this isn’t just the weather.
  8. The sheer amount of mail people receive with forms and print-outs that say very little. The financial companies’ green efforts need to be extended to US aid agencies, for example.
  9. Small talk! Because English is often not the first language for people we meet abroad, small talk is rarer – not that I blame them at all. Here, I’ve discussed a famous actress while checking out at the Dollar Store and the habits of the elderly while talking to the AAA car repair guy.
  10. Hot showers (with no time limit) are amazing!

It will be interesting to see how much more is jarring when we return to live.

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One thought on “Reverse Culture Shock

  1. haha, welcome home. now take us all back with you, at least until spring, which won’t happen til mid summer.

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