Have you ever been so full of emotions that you just start crying in the middle of the night on your walk back to your house? If not, how else do you get the inspiration to write your blog posts about reverse culture shocks?
“I should have hugged you…”
My thoughts every time I say goodbye to someone here. Oh, the French with their kisses goodbye rather than a big long cuddle.
So, I’ve spent the last 9 months living in France, speaking French and kissing strangers on the cheeks as a greeting and farewell. Investopedia does a good job of describing what I thought I was prepared for, the reverse culture shock.
Reverse culture shock is the emotional and psychological distress suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.
Technically, I haven’t gone “through” it yet. I have not yet left the Caribbean. I have less than a week left. However, am I rethinking some my life choices? Yes. Should I stop travelling to avoid the reverse culture shock? Do I need to stop travelling in order to prevent myself from leaving my loved ones? That last question has really stuck with me. I made a list of my all friends, not including any acquaintances or the friends of my friends whom I like a lot. The majority don’t live in the same country as me, we don’t share a time zone.
I’ve never had a problem with keeping in contact with my loved ones, I’m good at it. I take the time, and I stay up at ridiculous hours to converse or just share memes. Tonight, however, I remembered how it feels to be packing a suitcase, cleaning out your room and writing the thank you cards. I do it often but every now and then, my heart twinges, I get a little pang. I ask myself, how can something you’ve grown accustomed to still make you feel sad and alone? How can something you chose to do, still leave conflict in your mind?
I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year, a year abroad really does change you. With my big heart comes a mountain of emotions and a desire to please everyone. These conflict with my resolution to live for me. Bruh, this life thing isn’t easy.
Going back to the idea of the reverse culture shock, its arrival is due. I’m just in the beginning stages of missing people and places I haven’t even left yet… I’m reminded of the numerous times I have already done so. I’m beginning to ask myself how I’ll readjust to grey skies and palm trees existing only in my photos. I’m wondering how I plan to keep experiencing these emotions willingly. Typical Kirsty, always saying goodbye…
Tell me, have you ever dealt with culture shocks or a reverse culture shock? What did you do to get past it?
3 fitting words for this post; goodbyes, readjusting, memories