At the end of 2012 I quit my job, bought a ticket to America, lived at the beach, bummed around Bangkok and prepared mentally to go home. Since last week at this time I have visited Tiennanmin Square in China, flown across the world (my arms sure are tired) and traveled 60+ hours to be sitting right here on my best friends couch eating a real pickle, with some of my oldest and closest friends within driving distance (not that I have a car.) It is a humbling feeling to know you are doing exactly what you should be doing at that exact moment. This is the perfect place for me right now, with my future ahead of me and this moment right now.
The word I would use to describe my time back home thus far is overwhelming. There is so much going on and I have sensory overload with all the English everywhere. Asia seems to be losing its luster because even though there is way more to look at in Bangkok, I am sick of spicy and very much enjoying bland food, mid 70's weather, and being about to communicate.
A few preliminary thoughts about the reverse culture shock I am experiencing here at home...
- Diversity! Everyone looks like me, except they don't, it is just that everyone is not Thai so no one is staring at me! How refreshing! This does also mean no one calls me beautiful on a daily basis which is always nice to hear, but I suppose my ego could use a break.
- English. Everywhere. I can read all the signs to know what every place offers at their establishment. Convenient. I am easily swayed by advertisements and commercials, every deal sounds like the best deal ever and I can read the ingredients in what I am eating! Novel. I forgot how easy it is to live in a place where you speak the native language, it is the little things you take for granted!
- Everything is so beige and clean. The roads are all perfect and smooth, the houses are all clean and huge and everything looks the same, one intersection to the next. Perfect, middle class mediocracy is what America does like no other place in the world. Predictability can be a nice change.
- Again, with the English, and this might sounds kinda weird. Being able to talk to my server when out to eat, small talk with the guy behind the counter at the store, or just random people that are strangers is weird. Really weird. For almost 3 years, every interaction I have had in public from the post office to my colleagues at work have been mostly in a different language and are usually very awkward. Having to say "thank you" to my server who just understood my order completely instead of saying the same dish name over and over and"ka puen ka" with a little bow is hard to get used to.
- There is so much variety! When it comes to most western foods, I take what I can get in Asia, but grocery stores here have about 10 different flavors for every kind of food and it is all something I am used to and probably enjoy. There are no weird pig feet hanging from the ceiling at the grocery store and all food is expensive, not just in the "foreign food" section. There is so much to choose from I feel like a kid in a candy store, sometime literally!
- Traveling is much more difficult in America, the country is just so massive! I am trying to do some travel in the NW and would like to try something a little more fun than flying,
- If anything, it is exactly the same as I remember it and basically life goes on here, just as it does in any part of the world, which I take away as the most important thing I have learned from my time living abroad, while it may be easier to live in my home country, I'm living either way.
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