Reverse Culture Shock Part 2

The odd part about coming “home” is processing what home really is. Thursday an amazing friend picked me up at the airport and then took me to my favorite burrito joint. Anyone from Fort Collins is familiar with the amazing Big City Burrito. While sitting there and enjoy the amazing burrito I dreamed about for two whole years, I found myself tense up. I was anxious, worried, and scared. Why were these feeling going through my head? I was scared of coming back to my home and realizing how much I have changed, but my surroundings haven’t. Granted, if you leave a place for over two years, you are going to find some differences, but wow my hometown was very similar. I felt like a white mist took over my vision and I had to try everything to stay focused. I tend to ramble when I am uncomfortable. It is a nasty habit, I know.

Here I am in my beloved hometown and I was anxious to even go exploring in my favorite part of it. I enjoyed good company for the rest of the day and was brought home. It felt great stepping into my parent’s house once again, knowing I will have a couple more days to process and reflect on what I am experience.

The rest of the night I found myself buzzing with words. I was doubting myself. I was questioning myself. I was also overstimulated. My room has been neglected for quiet some time. I tended to each college summer cover the walls with another layer of excitement and artistic experimentation. With each layer, came beauty and love, but also came another layer of expression very different from the previous one.

I didn’t enjoy myself in my room. I was upset at how cover my walls were. So, the next day when I woke up I immediately took down every layer from my walls. At this point in my reverse culture shock I needed an environment that was free from expression. I was experience so much expression as it was. I didn’t need expression and emotion smacking me in the face every time I walked into my room.

Yesterday I got to celebrate my mom’s birthday. She turned one year younger. I know, I was surprised too, but apparently chemists can figure out how to reverse the ticking clock. It was great to enjoy the day with both my amazing parents. I take them for granted far too often. I am lucky that I have such wonderful and supportive parents. I would have not been able to transition from the Peace Corps into a teaching job in Las Vegas without them. They made my transition far less painful than it would have been on my own. (I imagine I would have ended up in a seedy motel room crying and questioning why I made such a bold move.)

After my mom’s birthday I pulled up my sleeves, literally it was hot in my room (imagine that Macedonians and Albanians, it was snowing outside and HOT in my room) and I came to terms with my hoarding problems. I got rid of A LOT OF STUFF. Some of my possessions that I still hold dearly I couldn’t convince myself to keep them. My parents and I didn’t know at a young age that I would be so into traveling, but I think a clear sign when I was little was asking for a world globe. I touched this cherished globe for the first time in two years and realized that several of the countries I visited during my service were not on the globe. How could I possess something that isn’t accurate? I hope a child somewhere else will cherish this globe. I am tempted to sharpie in the countries the globe is missing.

It was a refreshing feeling after many hours of going through all my stuff and finishing. Rewarding myself for the hard labor and focus I decided to adventure out into that hometown world that created a misty and blurry feeling just two days before.

I discovered H&M while I was abroad and I loved the quality, style, and cheap prices. I decided, since my town just got one, I should check out this store state-side. I am also in high need of clothing. I have two pairs of pants, which is just not going to cut it this winter at a school. I ended up getting a pair of pants and running into my favorite chocolate place, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Lately I find myself, treating myself far to often. I say, hey I haven’t had this in two years, why not? Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a habit.

Now the part of the day that broke the camel’s back was going to the brand-new Trader Joe’s in my hometown. I thought this would be a perfect pit-stop. I could savor all the things I have missed and be around like-minded Americas.  I stepped into this store and was immediately overwhelmed. I tunnel-visioned and just found one thing I liked. I took that item off the shelf and walked to the checkout counter. The poor check-out clerk saw tearing coming from my eyes and was confused. He thought I was crying because I couldn’t afford the ginger beer (non-alcohol) that I was going to buy. Yet, that is not what it was at all. I was crying from all the choice and selection.

A wise friend recently told me that for many people and places limited choice and selection makes for happier people. I think right now that’s me. I have become the most indecisive person ever and I cried at Trader Joe’s.

Luckily now I am at home with my amazing parents savoring their company and starring at the mountains anxious to explore my biggest love in Colorado.

Thank you everyone that has reached out to me and sent encouraging words. It is bizarre to find your home more scary, overstimulating, and overwhelming than where you lived for two years.

I also find it harder to process when I am in my hometown than in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a new adventure whereas Colorado in the last 6 years has been a transition place.

 

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