Culture Shock in Reverse

Looks like I might be experiencing a bit of Reverse Culture Shock.  It snuck up on me.  In all the excitement and turmoil of moving back to the US, it waited.  It was packed deep away in one of the boxes.  But now that it has been unpacked, I am not sure exactly what it is or what to do with it. 

What is Reverse Culture Shock?  Reverse Culture Shock

I would simply describe it as feeling out of step. 

Reverse Culture shock can make you feel like life’s rhythms changed… yet again.  However, there are many reasons for me to be excited to be back in the US.  I can finally do things like:

1.  Answer the door and talk to who ever is there without struggling and sometimes crying from frustration or confusion.

2.  I can look at a recipe or Pinterest post and say to myself – I know where to find those things, I can actually make that whole entire project or recipe without forming a local, German, fluent speaking search party to find certain items.

3.  I can walk into a grocery store, any day of the week, pick up eye contact saline solution, put it in my cart, and check out.  It is amazing! 

(In our small town in Germany, you could only buy contact saline solution through the Apoteke (drug store), where they kept it behind the counter.  I used to practice my German over and over and they still didn’t know what I was saying.  Either Chris had to buy my contact solution for me or I had to bring my almost empty bottle for “show and tell” and hope they had one left in stock.)  Apoteke

Reverse Culture Shock also shows up when you start to see all the downsides to your {home} country that you were able to look past before.  I can now see aspects of both countries that I struggle with accepting and also that I LOVE.  When I focus on the things that I LOVE.  I really start to miss Germany.  It makes me want to confess…

Dear Germany,

I sometimes took you for granted this past year.  You showed me so much unexpected kindness in many ways and shared with me the most amazing individuals. 

I could never have imagined meeting and connecting so deeply with that many beautiful, wonderful people in such a short amount of time.  They welcomed, loved, and offered me grace and help when I needed it.  I cherish the relationships that were built and strengthened while I was on your soil.  The impact you had on me is even more amazing, since I didn’t speak your language and our stay ended too quickly.  Thank you for sharing your food, people, culture, differences, and allowing me to learn from this experience and grow stronger.   

Love forever, Judi

PS – I also really loved the landscape (when it wasn’t rainy and cloudy :) and the castles!

Maybe because our time living in Germany was so intensely hard at moments, that the people I met imprinted on my mind and soul very deeply.  That is one reason why Reverse Culture Shock can be so hard.   

With all the changes in my life over the years, it has naturally been easier to move on by numbing myself until enough time has passed.  Time can start to heal the parts of my heart that hurt when I miss people.  But I don’t think I have given myself permission or time to truly heal from all the aches that have been left in my heart over the years.

In addition, I haven’t taken enough time to truly thank and tell each person I have met and spent time with that I cherish them, miss them, and wish we had more time together. 

So this message goes out to many, many people that I have crossed paths with during all these years of moving.  Just know that you are on my mind and in my prayers often. 

Lots of Love – Judi 

PS – Here are some good articles explaining Reverse Culture Shock.  CNN Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock

Expatica reverse culture shock what when and how to cope

Forbes Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock

Photo credit: Myles Davidson, stock.xchng

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1 Response to Culture Shock in Reverse

  1. Judi- remember that some of the deep connections you made with people happened because you needed others and asked for help. Don't stop doing that n the US! It is one of the best ways to make new friends. And even though you can get your eye contact solution on your own now, don't hesitate to ask for help at the local grocery store anyway!

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