I haven’t blogged much the last 6 months – for a number of reasons including my workload, and the stress related to moving my partner and dog across the ocean. I also didn’t recognize the country I moved back to at all – confirmed by the election results in early November, and I didn’t fully prepare myself for reverse culture shock.
I forgot how hard it was to move back – especially to a different American culture. I’m still baffled by the small things like gas station dinners (ribs, potatoes and corn… not nachos and corn dogs), the limited availability of … well anything that’s not BBQ or boutique, and the general politeness that characterizes every interaction. I still struggle with the big things – lack of affordable or adequate health care, pervasive racial tension, and an economic system which punishes the poor.
Making friends was harder than I thought, so I decided to take the situation into my own hands. I started working out with a personal trainer… essentially I began paying people to talk to me – and I’m okay with that. My fitness goals are on track, and for the hardest 3 months I had weekly face to face interaction with humans who were not my students, the liquor store clerk, my friend who drank with me over FaceTime, or my mom who calmly fielded every stress ridden phone call.
I also joined a 5k running club (even though I love people, I loathe running with them) long enough to earn a friend who puts up with me, and reminds me of the goodness of people. We haven’t hit our running goals, but that’s not really what it’s about most days. It’s venting about jobs, relationship stress, and sharing TV recommendations.
I’m working out of the culture shock… literally. Returning to the U.S. has been hard – made easier by a lot of people who are looking out for me – but it’s a work in progress and we will see where it goes from here.