I have researched the term ‘reverse culture shock’ extensively in order to gain a better understanding of potential issues presented to one returning back ‘home’. Perhaps I could have done more of this while I was actually still in Asia. I acknowledged a few points, but that doesn’t suffice when you find yourself sitting in traffic again and being bombarded by recurring problems that you didn’t think would still recur.
It is quite a complex phenomenon; no case is the same. I have experienced symptoms but apparently that’s ‘normal’. Herewith a few symptoms of reverse culture shock:
1. Unfamiliarity coupled with familiarity – although things change, they also stay the same.
2. Depression – crying randomly, oversleeping, eating too many carbs, etc.
3. Frustration – the little things you took for granted, come back to taunt you now in the form of: “Well . . when I was in [insert former host country name]. . was better”.
4. Overseas-focused – Conversing too much about one’s experience. From what I have read, and seen, some people don’t really care. Some people really do. I suppose it is best to know how much to say to who, and when. After reading about that point, I realised I was guilty of this, so I guess I monitor myself more.
5. Feeling like a fish out of water – I need not explain this.
6. Anxiety – worrying about things that weren’t an issue ‘back there’. Well, now it’s time to wake up very early and smell the coffee.
Winging it isn’t always a winning formula. . .
Although the aforementioned problems are experienced by some, there are also ways of dealing with the situation, apparently.
1. Travelling more around one’s country.
2. Partaking in interesting activities and developing interests and hobbies.
3. Getting re-acquainted with one’s friends.
4. Regular exercise.
Even so, it is still weird. Tired of feeling lost, I turned to. . . baking and cooking. There were some fails, but hey, it was a distraction.
Baked macaroni and cheese
And there you have it. The weirdest part is that I missed being home. What I didn’t realise was that I was home, already.