No one warns you about the emotions that will rush over you once you return home. All anyone (yourself included) talks about, is how different it will feel once you arrive abroad, and how amazing it will be. The topic that gets overlooked however, is the culture shock you will face upon returning home.
If you are anywhere for a substantial amount of time, especially a place where they speak a different language, it can be overwhelming. You eventually get accustomed to hearing another language besides your native tongue surrounding you. You may pick up some of the language, expressions, or tone. What you don’t think about, is once you return home, you will be yanked out of that environment you’ve been living in for the last 15 months. There is no gradual movement back into that life. I went from hearing French around me the morning I flew out (and for 15 months), to hearing solely English being spoken later that evening. I found myself being startled in the grocery store, hearing everyones conversations, and them hearing mine.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been quite pleased getting reacquainted with some of my favorite things and conveniences that live in the USA. But boy do I miss a bunch of things.
We are all well to aware of the culture shock you will face once going abroad, but the silent killer – is the culture shock that waits for you once you return home.
I have put off writing my ‘last post’ or not even necessarily my final post pertaining to my time in Paris, or experiences with being an au pair. But I have been putting off writing a piece about how it feels to leave, and to come home. How it feels to be back with all of your familiar – yet unfamiliar surroundings. I put it off, I suppose, to delay the inevitable. The inevitable being that I fully acknowledge that my time is finished. Clearly I know it’s over, and it has been for nearly 6 weeks now. There is just something about putting it into writing, that makes something so obsolete. There have been plenty of topics that I have yet (and may never) touch on in this blog, simply for the fact that I know that once I put pen to paper- or in this case typed words onto this blog, that some things may finally end. Whether that be moments had solo, relationships formed, memories savored, or in the larger sense, my entire time in Paris. So although I realize I can’t avoid writing a sort of, ‘end piece’ to my time had in France, I may still savor a few thoughts just for myself, in the hopes to make a few things last a little longer.
Returning home, is not as simple as it sounds. I suppose that if you went abroad, leaving certain belongings such as a car, apartment, and a secured job position for your return, things wouldn’t be too difficult. But, if when you left, you took off leaving no car, apartment, or secured job position, things may be just a tad difficult when that return date appears.
For example, the first thing you naturally think to get taken care of once returning to the States, is a job. But in order to get to a job, you’ll need transportation. Unless however, you live in a place where public transportation is a reliable, and frequent source. Either way, you will need some way to get to and from your place of work. The downside of that is, in order to get a vehicle, you need a number of things. Such as proof of residence – which you clearly don’t have, since you’ve been out of the country for the last 15 months. Secondly, you’ll need proof of income (and technically months of proof) – which again, you don’t have since you’ve just returned to the country. So you can see the dilema. You can’t get one, without the other, but you can’t get the other, without the one. I used to think that leaving to go to France was a headache, with all the paperworks and hoop jumping. I didn’t realize I would have to continue the hoop jumping once returning to my own home State. So long story short, this entire process is not for the faint of heart. You must be in it to win it, both with deciding to go abroad (and have the best experience of your life) but also the stamina to continue that gung-ho attitude, pushing forward once being back State side.