I recently found a list of “How to Cope With Reverse Culture Shock” that we had discussed in one of my classes in France. It has proven itself very true in my re-entry home after Haiti. I won’t lie; this was the hardest time I’ve ever had with coming back to the States. So to those who know culture shock or those who are wondering why it is so difficult with someone returning after a long time away, here’s a list, as told by beloved Disney gifs.
After waking up day after day in such a foreign, intriguing environment, going back to the same streets, same people, same old ways seems so blasé.
2. No one wants to listen
Sometimes you just inexplicably start crying after coming home. And no one really has excess patience for something at doesn’t directly affect them. I’m sure whenever I’m sniffling over missing my students or the excessive waste of resources here, everyone wants to do this to me.
3. And on the flip side, people want to know everything
GUYS I CAN’T TELL YOU EVERYTHING. THERE’S JUST TOO MUCH AND I’M REALLY SORRY.
4. You can’t explain it all
Unfortunately there are some aspects about traveling that can never be properly shared because so much of my personal sentiments and discoveries are entwined in the experiences themselves. So I can tell you about the kids in the village but you’ll never really know my love for them. It’s special to me but really hard not to be able to be shared. The words are impossible.
5. Reverse homesickness
I miss my intern dorm and the village and the school and the church and campus. I miss it as much as I miss my house when I’m at school and my school when I’m at my house. It’s now “home”, one of many.
6. Relationships have changed
Guys, magically the world did not stop when I left. People moved on, moved away, moved forward. Coming back is one big “catch-up” game. Wait, one my siblings is now an adult? Everyone changed friends? What happened?!
7. People misunderstand you
A-freakin’-men. I forget that whenever I say something,I know the full cultural context of what I mean. It’s been hard saying something and only having people retain what they know. They try but they’ll never understand it as I do. It’s really frustrating on both ends.
8. Feelings of alienation
Now that I have a concept of comfortability all over the world, it makes being in my present location pretty hard. How can I ever really belong when I feel so pulled between so many different places and cultures? It can get you feeling like this.
9. Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
Mags, great job on learning Creole. Never use it again. Glad you now know how to lead a class and work with teenagers. Back to your small world at college. Frustrating, eh?
10. Loss/compartmentalization of experience
It basically feels like Haiti (and way back when, France) was a dream. Feeling all the memories slip through my fingers is really rough.
It might sound like I’ve just laid in a fetal position in a dark closet but really I’ve had a lovely time home. Moving from home to school so fast was a little less lovely. I feel like I’ve procrastinated really addressing some of these issues I’ve been experiencing but hopefully feeling it now will make it easier the next time! And silver lining for anyone whose gone through it- it can be really rewarding when you consider that you are only so jarred because you grew and your perceptions changed. So good luck to any out there who knows what it’s like and remember not to get too down.