As summer vacation time is looming, I’ve been making (i.e. struggling) to put together an itinerary. The plan is to spend a week back home and to spend another week in Estonia. While I am counting down the days until I land back in the good old US of A, there is another side of going home for the first time in nearly nine months: adjusting to life not abroad.
Admittedly, this post was inspired by a conversation I had with two of my fellow expat/EF teachers. While we all were genuinely excited to be seeing our family and friends, we got to talking about the culture shock that we planned to expect. You know, I never really expected to even consider that, but spending a significant chunk away from home resulted in me being more adjusted to Russian life. I’m not saying that I’ve been totally Russified, but there are some things that admittedly scare me about going home. Driving/paying for gas, behavior, the weather (I’ve been wearing jackets/jeans still), and generally adjusting to life in the States are the top fears of mine. Are they rational? I have a feeling that yeah, I’m panicking over nothing, but I have heard stories about returning expats being lost, namely because they’re “shocked into the realization that they have in fact changed substantially, usually when they encounter their home culture upon repatriating. Both they and their home culture have changed, and this is often the first time that expats have had the opportunity to experience any of these changes.” (http://www.expatica.com/nl/moving-to/Moving-home-Reverse-culture-shock_104957.html) Don’t get me wrong, getting to catch up with friends, family, video games, Chipotle/Five Guys are things that I’ve been eager to do ever since I landed on Russian soil, but I fear that it’ll be more daunting at this point.