The Re-entry Blues

29 Apr

Sigh.  I’m a bit of an Eeyore tonight.  The thing is, I knew it would be difficult to re-enter the United States after 8 months in Europe.  But that doesn’t make it fun!  Here are some…er…highlights of the re-entry/reverse culture shock experience:

1. Oh my gosh, why do Americans speak so loudly?  I know, I know.  I do it, too.  But now I’m constantly cringing at the sheer volume of regular, everyday conversations.  I wonder if my European friends ever wanted to just clap their hands over their ears while I was speaking to them?  My dad, a 6 foot 5 Israeli man, is already loud and on the ride home from the airport, I felt like I was being shouted at for 45 minutes.  

2. The variety, the endless choices I am faced with every second of the day.  I came home to a closet full of clothes, a fridge full of food, and a city full of shops and advertisements.  There’s just so much, I feel paralyzed by it.  The past two nights I’ve been so stuck trying to decide what to make for dinner that I put it off for two hours until I’m starving, and then just end up eating some pita and hummus and some fruit and yogurt.  Last night I wandered around Trader Joe’s for an hour, just looking at things.  I would pick up a box of frozen quiche, stare at it blankly, and then put it down and shuffle off to another aisle.  I changed outfits three times this morning.  I can’t even decide which book to read…now that I’m surrounded by my own collection, and within a few minutes of a public library full of English volumes.

3. I think the loneliness is the hardest part.  I came home to a bit of a weird situation, because my parents left for an anniversary cruise the day before I returned home.  So I’m staying in this huge house with my little dog and my stepbrother who is in and out at all hours.  It’s a far cry from the noisy 3rd floor at Grimerud, where I could hear my neighbors’ conversations as clearly as if they were in my own room; and the laughter in the kitchen and doors slamming at any hour.  People, voices, life were at my fingertips.  

I really miss Europe and Norway and Grimerud.  It’s so frustrating when you just get used to something, and then you change again.  I feel like that’s the story of my life.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just tiring and uncomfortable sometimes.  I’m thankful that my time in Norway was so amazing that I do have to go through a mourning period now that it’s over.  I know I just need to ride this wave out, let things take their natural course and take special care of myself in the process…but I just wish I was readjusted already.  It’s so weird to think that going back to my comfort zone actually feels like being out of my comfort zone.  I guess that’s what happens when you’ve been away long enough.  The good thing is, I’ve only seen good things come out of being in this squirmy place.  Bring it.


3 Responses to “The Re-entry Blues”

  1. Martin May 1, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    It is nice to read about you culture shock. I can’t say I understand how it is, but still I can imagine how it can be.

    I miss you smile here at the base.

    be blessed : )


  2. Anoushka Alden May 7, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    That’s so true about comfort zones! I never thought of it that way. I always feel homesick at first, but the minute I get back, I feel a tiny void inside- like ” I want to be back in …” Joy, reading your blog really inspires me to start journaling again. Thanks! and I hope you don’t stop blogging!


  3. netanya May 13, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    Thanks, Anoushka! So encouraging. And yes…DO journal! I have volumes of them, and I’m so glad I do.


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