Thursday, March 22, 2018

Reverse Culture Shock

You may have heard many definitions of reverse culture shock.  I loosely define “reverse culture shock” as “readjusting to your native culture after experiencing a different lifestyle.”  I did not notice my changes or assimilation to New Zealand culture until I returned to my life in the States.  In other words, I felt more culture shock when I returned home than when I entered New Zealand.  Reverse culture shock is not just emotional; it is also habitual.  The conflicting emotions of relieving homesickness and longing for where I was did not allow me to think properly. I fell into a little depression when I realized I could not alleviate both.
Instead of trying to define “reverse culture shock” better, here are a list of examples of the feelings and adjustments I went through:
1   1.) Discretely mourning the end of a trip. 
2   2.) Panicking while driving because I momentarily forgot which side of road I was supposed to drive. 
3   3.) Tapping the top of the toilet expecting to see options for how to flush and forgetting to pay attention to the direction of the circling water. 
Moments before First Bungy Jump in Auckland 
4   4.) Walking into a bakery wanting meat pies or sausage rolls and finding nothing but sweets.  Months after returning, I have finally found a good sausage roll recipe to enjoy.  
5   5.) Remembering to tip again.
6   6.) Saying Kiwi words and phrases then realizing nobody around me understands. 
7   7.) Encountering a surprising amount of people who think New Zealand is Australia.
8   8.) Having New Zealand be the only subject I want to talk about for 3 weeks or more upon return to the States. 
9   9.) Looking at my New Zealand mementos in disbelief that I was there and that the trip is over. 
1   10.) Missing listening to Si & Gary’s morning radio on More FM show on my way to work and now having class or work during their show. 
1   11.) Feeling incomplete as I watch rugby alone because I have no one to share my predictions of the game. 
1   12.) Questioning whether I am more Kiwi than American. 
1   13.) Realizing new goals and dreams I have for my life since what I thought was possible was shattered by what IS possible. 
     14.) Being thankful for the opportunity. 
The northern most point of New Zealand, Cape Reinga, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. 

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