Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reverse Culture Shock

It has been almost one full month since I returned home from my four month stint in London, England. I am therefore surprised to find myself still feeling suspended between the culture I left behind and the one to which I returned.  According to the study abroad guide book with which I was provided before my departure from the United States, I am currently experiencing a phenomenon known as "Reverse Culture Shock". Defined as a period of re-adjustment and re-examination of the norms of American society, this is a concept at which I laughed and subsequently disregarded during my preparation for my adventures across the pond. Ultimately, I suppose my pre-London self could not comprehend that her future post-London counterpart could actually feel foreign in the area that has been my home for the entire 20 years of my existence. Yet here I am, feeling not only like a freshman all over again, but also like someone examining Santa Clara University and the greater Bay Area from an outside, critical perspective.  

Despite countless trips to my favorite frozen yogurt and Mexican joints (two delicacies whose availability was severely lacking in the UK), and multiple outings in my car just to experience the thrill of driving again, I desperately miss taking the "Tube" to work each morning, hearing shouts of "Oi!" and "Cheers, mate!" being exchanged during my numerous jaunts through Hyde Park,  calling soccer, "Football", and reading "The Guardian" every evening. Ultimately, the little things to which I became so accustomed and often overlooked in my day-to-day life while in London, are the ones which I find myself pining for the most.

I know that soon enough I'll fall back into the old habits and routines of which my life consisted prior to my Londontown  immersion. I'll stop complaining about our quality of tea, the state of our local newspaper and the number of commercials that accompany every television program. Eventually, I'll become an American again.

 Until that time, hopefully I'll continue to remember to drive on the correct side of the road.

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