Reverse Culture Shock and New Adventures

It has not been an easy few weeks. But in no way is that a bad thing.

How is it already June? Weren’t we just saying goodbye to 2012? Wasn’t I just packing for London?
Wait, didn’t I just get home? Did I already leave again? Am I really graduating in a year?
Am I actually officially living in Australia right now?

It has been a crazy few weeks. And in every way is that a good thing.

Just a few weeks ago, I set off on a backpacking adventure through southern Italy and Malta, exploring different cities with different friends. I still can’t quite wrap my head around all the amazing places I was able to explore and experience. Here, with the next adventure already underway, it already seems another lifetime ago. London and Sydney could not be more different.

But more on that later.

Before I start my weekly posts again (featuring my oh so clever hashtag), I want to reflect a bit on my brief time at home and of course, starting over in this new city,  so quickly after I got used to its complete opposite…

Like I said in previous posts, I finally returned to South Florida on May 16th. I spent a glorious ten and a half days at home before I whisked away again on May 27th. And what surprised me the most was not how big my (no longer baby) cousins had gotten or the intense humidity when I stepped out of the airport (I forgot how suffocating it can be!). No, what really got me in those few days was the reverse culture shock of being back home.

And the funny thing is they warned us so much before and after we came to London about culture shock and how we can combat it and all this useless BS about how different things would be and how difficult it would be to adjust and to be perfectly honest, I did not experience culture shock in London at all. Maybe it was the fact that England is so similar to New England or that being surrounded by BU students made it seem like I was back in Boston sometimes but even outside of that, I slipped seamlessly into the London culture, no bumps, rips, or tears. The lows I felt during my semester were due to the typical homesickness and adjustment issues that come every time you move to a new place, but not necessarily London-specific.

Which is why when they started their usual noise about reverse culture shock in the weeks leading up to departure day, I barely listened. And then I came home and jarringly realized I could not yet buy my mom a bottle of wine for her birthday or stay out past 2am because the garage door would disturb my grandparents or take my car and go anywhere I wanted without keeping my dad appraised of my every location. It was weird.

It was strange going from all this freedom, from spending months honing my independence, navigating my way through Europe, all on my own, taking care of myself, with no one and nothing to answer to… And coming back to the hot hazy suburban life that I once knew so well, that was once all I ever knew.

It felt like high school. Everything felt like high school. If I met my 17 year old self now, she would never recognize me. She would never believe the things I have done and the person I have grown up to be. And coming back with the travel high and that cheeky confidence that comes with that kind of independence… I felt her, that 17 year old me, I felt her that week I was home, in everything that made up my childhood, my adolescence, and my teens. And feeling her then and feeling me now, well it was pretty difficult to reconcile.

Anyway, I sense myself rambling. I’m not sure how much of this makes sense… I’ve never really experienced culture shock or reverse culture shock for that matter. But it’s interesting. Fascinating even. I have a feeling Sydney might be more of a culture shock than London was but I haven’t even been here for a week so who knows.

I do know one thing. By my second day here, I was already in love. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s something about this place. I can see myself here. And I don’t really have to think about it, I don’t have to try to put myself in the position and strain to envision it, I can just see it. It’s there and I’m there and it fits. Kind of like Boston. Sometimes the city just fits.

This summer may be the most adventurous one yet.

Bring it on Sydney. I’m ready.


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