A note about returning
17.08.2010 74 °F
I felt like this blog would be incomplete without a note on the final step. I've been home for a few days now. In fact, I'm currently sitting on my bedroom floor with my laptop in my lap. I'd like to send a welcome home message to all of my friends from this summer- I'm sure you're all as excited as I am to be back.
Coming home is quite an experience. I've never quite done anything like it. When I got to the airport, there was a huge rush of emotions. I saw my parents and heard their voices for the first time in 6 weeks (I never called). All of the signs were in English. Proper English (not "No Loud Noising"). And I understood them. There was no effort in communication anymore. I knew what was going on. I was no longer the center of attention wherever I went. No one stares when I walk into the room anymore, and it's been four full days since anyone has asked for my picture. I know all of the proper etiquettes, and you'd be surprised how many little things can go unnoticed. Simple things like waiting your turn are different here. I haven't been terrified for my life on the street here, nor have I been nearly hit by a car while on the sidewalk. I've even driven. My showers have been in the morning (or early afternoon, depending on when I get up). And, of course, I'm back to my own bed.
Being an exchange student, as I've mentioned before, is an experience unlike any other. It's fascinating. You kind of adjust to being a big deal. It's almost a let-down when you get home and realize that people aren't intrigued by everything that you do. I wasn't quite prepared for that. I only felt off for the first day, though. Fortunately, I was better equipped to handle it because my parents warned me about reverse culture-shock. It's as much of an adjustment to come home as it is to go abroad. Almost. It's almost as much of an adjustment. Coming home certainly is easier, because it's like switching back to your default settings. You may have gotten used to the other routines and everything, but it took longer. Switching back is pretty quick, because it's basically automatic. I would imagine that the ease of readjustment is connected to how long you are away. I was only away for six weeks (although I don't consider that a particularly short amount of time anymore). I expect that had I been gone a year, it would have taken a few more days to get back to my normal routine. But it happens. I actually got to chat about the adjustment period with Moheb, the exchange student from Afghanistan who is staying with my family. He arrived the day before I did. I promised him that he would adjust in time. The first week or so may feel like forever, but it will pass. Life in a foreign country ceases to be foreign, and just becomes life. I think that's the most important lesson that I can take away from this. And so that's how I'll end this blog. I wonder where my next one will be.
Zai jian da jia!