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Reverse Culture Shock is horrible
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject: Reverse Culture Shock is horrible Reply with quote

I-m back after two years and I-ll be here for five weeks. It-s horrible. I originally left 9 years ago, but haven-t been back for so long.

This was a mistake to come back for so long, I have nothing in common with my brothers and sisters. I have four friends here, all of them are working. Three of them I last saw 2 years ago, and one it-s been six years. I'm actually dreading meeting up and having them tell me how hard things are here, with gas at nearly 2 dollars a galloon, it-s 4.25 where we are, but with cost of living, that-s 17 bucks. How hard they work, they go to work in their own car, work for 8 hours and go back, no fighting idiots on public transport, no 10 or 15 hours days.

I have nothing to do, except read. I shouldn-t have come back for so long. I mean, my conversations with my family are like, "so, it-s really cold outside"

They-re rich beyond my dreams, I can-t believe how much perfume, body spray, lotion, makeup, face stuff, etc, my sister has. Her drawers are jammed with clothes and she doesn-t even live at home anymore.

The pantry is chocked FULL of food. They buy little things online a lot, and say they have a budget.

I can-t drive , have a license, but haven-t driven in years. I-m hoping I can change my name on my license after three years of marriage.

I can-t even type right because the keyboard-s all screwy.

I-m sorry for the depressing post, I just don-t know what to do.
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Marcoregano



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 872
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no idea where you are NG (you don't say) but why not start that novel you've been waiting to have time for. Seriously, so long as you have some space and privacy it shouldn't be so bad. Is it too cold to go hiking or do day trips? Museums? Public libraries? Etc. Maybe you could plan a short holiday somewhere else b4 you head back to Peru.

I realise this won't help you right now, but if you went home more often (I return to the UK every summer) it wouldn't be such a shock and you wouldn't lose touch with friends and family to such an extent.
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MO39



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1970
Location: El ombligo de la Repķblica Mexicana

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Nature Girl,

I wholeheartedly agree with Marcoregano's sensible suggestions for dealing with your unhappiness. May I also venture to suggest that a lot of what you're calling "reverse culture shock" also appears to be unhappiness with certain aspects of your life in Lima, which your visit "home" has brought out into the open. When I've experienced reverse culture shock, it usually has included missing positive aspects of life in my new home as well as the kinds of things you've mentioned in your post. I fear my comments won't be of much comfort right now, but I did want to let you know that I'm sorry I am that you're feeling so low. Sad

MO
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Elkythedogsperson



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 74
Location: West Java, Indonesia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NatureGirl...

Big deep breaths now. Yep, it feels strange to be back in the home country. Treat it like it is going to a whole new country, like it is in its way; make it seem a fun experience. It is what you make it.

I'm back in the states now but looking at heading back to Asia just after the new year.

Family and friends are the hardest. I came back to the US after 2.5 years in Thailand, Cambodia, Costa Rica and Mexico. Probably what helped me the best was the time in Cambodia and some of the Buddhism I picked up through osmosis. Yes, my family is rich compared to Cambodia or Mexico and yes, they live in a disposable culture, but they are loving people in their lives and I can appreciate that. That they havenít seen what Iíve seen or lived where Iíve lived isnít a fault of theirs and it isnít something that will kill my spirit or make me hurt being while spending time back here.

Your family membersí stresses are real for them. Give them the grief they deserve for life's problems, but donít feel you have to carry it on you or, worse, burden them with guilt about how good they have it compared to life in a developing country.

Like you, I am finding there's nothing to do but read, but truthfully I am loving it as I was so craving any English reading materials in Mexico, CR and Thailand (in Cambodia I lived above a used book store). So I am loving every minute I can have with a book or magazine here.

Think about when you first went to Peru...wasn't that new keyboard "all screwy" to you then? Mi amiga, smile, recharge the batteries, re-acquaint yourself with a world that many of your students would love to see, get the best out of the five weeks and head back to where you're calling home with an newer, changed slightly perspective.

Buen viaje.


Last edited by Elkythedogsperson on Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a copy of the book The Art of Coming Home, by Craig Storti.

http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/voices/200801/0124world0.htm

This is 20-20 hindsight advice, but people need to maintain a strong lifeline with their friends and family while they are away. Letters and phone calls alone sometimes don't cut it. Webcams are a godsend to some.

People also need to realize that although they are away in what others might consider a glamorous world, life goes on for those left behind. They will forget or neglect the more instant communication that you'd have if back home. They don't forget or neglect you. Remember that, but you also need to realize what has happened while you were away.

People also get tired easily of hearing about one's travel stories. Don't expect everyone to want to know how the 2 countries compare on every detail of the day. Just talk about futures and what people do daily.

One more thing. If you are planning to return to that other country, use the time that you are "home" to gather information, pictures, realia, etc. to bring back. One university teacher in Japan got fired because she has not returned to her homeland in 14 years; the school said she could no longer teach American culture because she didn't know what it was anymore. She appealed and lost!
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9650
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always found it helpful to play tourist when heading home for visits, something like marcoregano says. Don't know if it helps, NG, but maybe as Christmas gets closer, it will feel better to be with family.

Quote:
One university teacher in Japan got fired because she has not returned to her homeland in 14 years; the school said she could no longer teach American culture because she didn't know what it was anymore. She appealed and lost!


That's amazing, but understable I suppose. I always notice just how many Mexican habits I've picked up whenever I'm back home.
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MO39



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1970
Location: El ombligo de la Repķblica Mexicana

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

One university teacher in Japan got fired because she has not returned to her homeland in 14 years; the school said she could no longer teach American culture because she didn't know what it was anymore. She appealed and lost!


An American friend of mine who's lived in Mexico for over 30 years sometimes asks me about details of American slang and popular culture that he's not familiar with, so he won't lead his students astray. Very Happy And he does go back to the States for visits at least twice a year. I can't imagine staying away for 14 years and still having a grasp of current American language and culture!
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 2021
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

One university teacher in Japan got fired because she has not returned to her homeland in 14 years; the school said she could no longer teach American culture because she didn't know what it was anymore. She appealed and lost!


That's ridiculous! Did she not have any family there that she talked to to? Did she not ever read magazines, newspapers etc from there?

But fourteen years is a long time.
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Marcoregano



Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 872
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

One university teacher in Japan got fired because she has not returned to her homeland in 14 years; the school said she could no longer teach American culture because she didn't know what it was anymore. She appealed and lost!


Perhaps her school were looking for an excuse to get rid of her? Japanese schools are notoriously ageist, especially with foreign teachers. As GBBoom says, it's absurd to suggest that someone loses touch with their own culture so completely, though doubtless you'd lose touch with things like changes in slang, pop culture and so on.

Back to the OP, as Guy says, as a returning visitor you can see your own country from a tourist's perspective. I lived in London for five years in the 80s and generally hated the place. However, now when I go back for a visit, I love it. As a visitor there's so much to do - museums, art galleries, cafes, pubs and restaurants, great shops and backstreets to explore, the list goes on - but if you work there it's hard to find the time or energy.
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zeke0606



Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 185
Location: East Outer Mongolia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: what? Reply with quote

Naturegirl -

If it is any comfort - I've been home to California only three times in the last fourteen years. My family is still the same - dysfunctional, and my friends are still the same - running around in circles in spite of the fact that both feet have been nailed to the floor.

I think the longest I planned to stay was for a month and WITH no one in particular. A friend loaned me a car (after I paid for the repairs) and I just visited everywhere I wanted and stayed where I was invited.

The other posters have said it and I will say it again --- I have found that being a tourist at home is THE best way to go. I just have to remember that almost everyone in California is armed and almost no one is armed here in the heart of Russia.

Zeke
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice. I went from Lima to a city 1 hour outside of Chicago, then will go to northern CA for a week. I LIKE the organisation here, don-t get me wrong. It-s great that people STOP at red lights and DON_T honk. I guess I just don-t like the distance thing from friends and family. I think that-s partially caused by ignorance. My best friend thought that Peru was in Asia. I mean, come on. Didn-t know what language they spoke.

And in my opinion my friends and family are lazy. I email and don-t get replies, after a while, you just stop emailing.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I can't imagine staying away for 14 years and still having a grasp of current American language and culture!
What do you think people do when they are in the US or UK. They stay at home, watch TV, communicate over the internet, read the books and newspapers. Face-to-face communication means avoiding people's eyes in public transport or swearing at them from the comfort of your car.

And what do expats do abroad? They stay at home, watch TV, communicate over the internet, read the books and newspapers.
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MO39



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1970
Location: El ombligo de la Repķblica Mexicana

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess Stephen Jones would think I'm quite weird because whether in the States or living abroad, I do actually spend time out of my house and communicate with people in person! Very Happy
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're interested in the details of that woman's case, read here.
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#ninkiseigallagher
http://www.debito.org/paleroundtablereport.html
http://www.debito.org/gallagherupdate2200.html

Read the last one first.
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Sweetsee



Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 2302
Location: ) is everything

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Naturegirl,
Focus on the positive, it's contagious!
Enjoy,
s
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