Friday, June 08, 2007

Reverse Culture Shock

After nearly eight years in Asia, I have to admit that going back to the States is more of a culture shock that being here. For the curious, here is a brief list of what I anticipate will be most jarring about returning (I'll update with reality after we're over the border):

1. The weather - I'm used to a 5 degree temperature variation year round, but you've heard me say that a million times. I do miss the seasons, but summer in MN is pretty nice. I need to buy more warm clothes. Or as one of our Chinese friends told us in preparation for cooler weather, "You should wear clothing more."

2. The size - everything in America is big. I sent a video clip to some friends recently, and my Australian friend wrote back about the people in it saying, "Are all Americans that big?" I'm looking forward to being extra small again, instead of the medium I am here. But it's not just the people - it's the cars, the stores, the movie seats, the portion sizes. It's like something from Gulliver's Travels.

3. Being a majority person - I can go through days without seeing another white person other than my family. I'm used to that. It weirds me out when everyone's the same color.

4. English - I know there are people in the US who speak other languages, but here it's common to hear 4 or 5 languages in the same store. When I'm in the States and I hear another language, it's oddly comforting.

5. US currency - When I see something priced in Sing dollars, I usually do a mental conversion so I know how much I'm really spending. In the US, I look at things and think, "$5 - so that's really like $3! Oh no, wait, it's just $5." That's disappointing.

6. Driving on the other side - for the first week, I will ask my mom on a daily basis which way I should pull out of the driveway.

That's what comes to mind for now. We're excited, though I am dead tired from packing and thinking through change of address and last minute purchases and repainting walls. My poor kids have watched more than their share of TV this week, not that they're complaining. They are climbing the walls with excitement about going back. So far they're still counting the days, but I suspect we will progress to "how many hours?" pretty soon.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

hahaha, the currency thing was really funny. that WOULD be disappointing. luckily for me they don't use "Japan dollars" or something in Japan, so I shouldn't have that problem.