Reverse culture shock is REAL. And in some of the most insanely mundane ways.
My first day at home I was forced to go to the Apple Store to purchase a new laptop and hopefully recover my old one that had died 2 weeks prior. It was also 10 days before Christmas.
I got super anxious and felt the need to interact with everyone around me. I connected with the super nice employee Travis and treated him like an actual human being and it was so fun. The other customers overwhelmed me because a lot of them were really angry.
In the parking lot after the entire ordeal, it took me 30 minutes to find my white Volvo sedan among the ocean of upper-middle-class automobiles at the Manhattan Village Mall. I got anxious and called my boyfriend who was adjusting on his own in Orange County.
“Dude, I’ve been walking around this parking lot forever. I’m so lost,” I whined.
And he responds, “I can’t really talk, I’m searching this Whole Foods trying to find the coconut oil. This store is so freaking big.”
Needless to say, America is very overwhelming right now. I liken it to the 5 stages of grief. In fact, studentsabroad.com says “reverse culture shock usually takes place in four different stages: disengagement, initial euphoria, irritability and hostility and, finally, readjustment and adaptation. These four stages are essentially a rollercoaster of emotions.”
So that’s somewhat of a relief.
For this month-ish that I’m home, I’ve been all over the place, physically and mentally. I went to Costa Rica for 10 days for the first time, I saw my friend get married in Phoenix, and had a one-day adventure to snowy Denver. Also on the roster: Vegas to see Cher, DC to visit a bestie from college and then it’s off to Lisbon.
I’ve been working at a WeWork, a global mega-corp coworking space that’s the exact opposite of my thatched-roof coworking space in Bali. One example: Everyone in Bali works barefoot.
It is so weird seeing videos and pictures of Bali on Instagram from my new friends and targeted ads. I see a place that felt like a home and I realized the things that made Bali so different had started to feel normal.
I feel sorta out of it like I’m living in an alternate universe. But I’m not sure which is the foreign place just yet.