My time in the UK is coming swiftly and surely to an end, so I thought I’d take this moment to prepare you all for what is to come:
Reverse culture shock.
Now, this is not my first time dealing with the effects of reverse culture shock. I experienced it all quite heavily back in 2010 after 7 months of living in Cheltenham. This, my friends, is going to be so much worse.
For those of you who have never lived abroad, or have never experienced reverse culture shock, let me just say, it’s intense.
To give you a bit of an idea . . . I only lived abroad for 7 months the first time around. I was a student, so I knew I had to go back in the end, but you always let that slip to the back of your mind.
When I got back, I felt like I didn’t know anyone anymore. I had to reconnect with all of my old friends, I had inevitably lost touch with quite a few. I went back to my ‘home’ university and felt more alone than I ever had abroad. I had to make an entirely new set of friends again, but this time, I knew I had a set of extremely close friends waiting for me back in England.
I spent months pining over the country I had left behind. I missed it more than I ever missed New Jersey, which will probably upset a lot of people, but I’ve always felt really independent and like I fit in in England. I can’t explain why. But then, can any one really pinpoint what exactly draws them to a certain place?
Sure, you can name superficial differences, but it’s more like there’s something in the air. Things have a different feel.
But, anyway, I digress.
I think what makes reverse culture shock so much more difficult for me is the fact that I can’t talk to anyone about the experiences I’ve had in the past year or so.
I only lived in Cheltenham for 7 months.
In this case, I’ve lived in Oxford for a year and four months and I haven’t been back to the States in a year.
So what am I going to talk about when I get back? I mean, let’s face it, there are only so many times you can talk about the experiences you had abroad before people start rolling their eyes at you. No one knows who you’re talking about, so that funny story about that time Jenny did this and Will did that and . . . oh, guess you had to be there . . . just end up falling flat and no one understands. In the end you end up feelinglonely because you shared so much with people you can never see. And you know, deep down, that you will eventually lose touch with them.
So, basically, this post is a warning to you all! I may put on a brave face, but trust me . . . it’s coming.
I will, deep down, resent the fact that I’ve moved away yet again. I don’t really feel like I belong anywhere anymore. I’m absolutely devastated I have to leave my friends. My home. I’ve been near tears all week. And I guess I just wanted to let everyone here know that some serious bouts of nostalgia, general weepy-ness and probably a bit of anger are on their way.
I leave for the airport in 36 hours. My flight is in 40 hours. I’ll be home in 48 hours. Gods help us all.
Jump start the nostalgia! Some photo highlights of my last year and four months. Note: these don’t even begin to cover all of the amazing times I had.