One of the common questions I get when I first tell people about my travels is, “OMG you must have major culture shock?”
The answer to this question is in short, No. There are a few things that have shocked me, but overall it seems like the same America I left. Which means I didn’t adapt to another culture to the point that coming home seemed foreign. Maybe this is because we went to so many countries, never really settling down. Maybe it is because our last 2 months were spent in Scandinavia which has a society similar to ours. Or maybe it is because I am stubborn, who knows? Despite not really expressing major culture shock, I have a few tremors.
Firstly, I miss metric! Our system of measurements makes no sense. It did not take me long to adapt to metric and I still have not switched my brain back. This is particularly true when it comes to measurements of hikes. Miles? How long does it take me to walk one of those?
Secondly, I am having a hard time with the materialism in America. I think this has to do with having lived out of a carry-on bag for a year, but more importantly it we have seen so many people that by American standards have nothing. Have nothing and are still happy. It is hard to come back to America and see the consumerism and materialism everywhere. Really, Amazon Now? We can’t even wait a day for whatever new fad craze merchandise we need to own. Ahh.
Thirdly, what is wrong with public transit America? I have been going back and forth to Idaho and it blows my mind that the best way to get there is to drive myself. The traffic in Seattle is crazy, yet I still find myself driving all the time because it’s not convenient to take public transit.
And finally, I can eavesdrop! It is great being in a country where everyone speaks a language that I understand. It is nice to know what is going on in the world around me. I think it is just nice not to be foreign.