The writing continues, and for the next short while (I hope it’s short, anyway) it may be quite rambly, at times resembling a journal. I won’t apologize, because I think every writer needs these moments. This is my reverse culture shock honesty…enjoy!
I’ve been stateside now for exactly three weeks. I’m still at my parents’ home, and trudging through the job-searching process. I’m living between my hometown and the city where I studied, preparing to move back, but not quite there yet. I’d call this a “transition phase”, only I don’t quite know what I’m transitioning into, so I feel like I’m floating.
People keep telling me, “Welcome home.” I say, “Thank you.” I don’t say, “It’s good to be back”, because I’m still at war with the reality of being back, overwhelmed and confused. I’m unsure how to apply what I learned, who I became, how I changed, to a culture that doesn’t understand what I did, why I did it.
I refuse to write, “I wish I was there! I’m jealous.” Each time I see a happy photo of my Bangkokian friends. The only way to get through this floatation phase is to focus on the now, not the wonderful past.
One recurring issue is that as frustrating as life could be in Bangkok, I had the very clear knowledge that I had chosen this way of life. So the things I did without, I am not thrilled to have again. Yes, I went without hot water to wash my dishes with for 9 months. And do you know? I didn’t get sick. It’s hard to be ecstatic to have something returned, when you’d grown so comfortable without it.
What am I grateful for, though? I’m grateful for unlimited texting. And yesterday I was grateful for a stove. And the day before that I was grateful not to miss another family event, and helped celebrate the impending arrival of another niece.
I’m learning to be grateful, here and now. I resent people assuming I am grateful because it was so hard. It was hard. It was harsh and at times it felt brutal, but it was incredible. To be overly grateful for hot water, and cheese, and a kitchen and zero traffic…it still seems like I’m cheating on my ability to do without.
Does this make any sense?