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.