Well, I have been back in the U.S. for 10 days now. The reverse culture shock hasn’t been as extreme as the initial culture shock upon arrival in India, but it has been noticeable. For me, it’s been quite pleasant over-all. As soon as I walked out of the O’Hare airport I marveled at how clean everything looked and how fresh it all smelled. At this point I literally laughed out-loud. I was standing outside the airport in Chicago, amazed at how PRETTY everything was. Outrageous right? Well, maybe not. That was the beginning of my biggest culture shock on returning home. We, or at least I, had taken all of our country’s natural beauty for granted. The roads seemed wider than I remember, the cars larger, and the buildings taller. Even the simple hanging flowers on the streetlamps in Marquette impressed me. They’re relatively cheap and low maintenance, but it really does add so much beauty to the downtown.
When I arrived home the things that stuck out the most to me was the quiet, calm, and peaceful ambiance that the place held. It was like time had literally slowed down and you could just slow down with it. My heart-rate seemed to drop, stressful thoughts drifted to the back of my mind, and past memories of lovely summers took over in my slightly melancholic mind. India made me feel incredibly alive by forcing me to be aware of everything around me. The hectic environment made my heart race with both excitement and stress…it was fun, but not necessarily relaxing. Coming home has allowed me to both re-cooperate and also to appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings.
Unfortunately not all shocks were so pleasant. On the negative side were the high prices of most everything, the lack of cultural differentiation, the limited (and quite frankly less comfortable) clothing styles, and the lack of Indian food around. Fingers crossed. There were also some good friends that I left behind in India, that I may or may not ever see again. When I left home, I knew I would see my friends and family again, but leaving India was less certain and that made it a lot harder.
Over-all I enjoyed my Indian summer. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life, I’ve added to my own personality, experience, and taste, and I’ve come home to see things through fresh eyes. I feel very privileged to live in this country and grateful that my summer in India was able to increase my love for the U.S. while enjoying other various wonders that this world has to offer. I’m also very grateful to everyone that helped to make it possible: USAC Study Abroad, Greta Gustafson and the entire IPS office, the staff at Christ University (especially Jacob and Florence), my aunt Bonny for visiting and traveling with me, my whole family for allowing me to talk and share my experience with them, my boyfriend for attempting to send me packages and waiting up at night to talk with me, and my parents who supported a crazy traveler as much as they could in every way possible.
I was there. I’m back. The next adventure awaits!