Walking on a Dream
I realised today, home is no longer home. Yes, I still live in the same house and the same room that I left a year ago and my family are always there to support me no matter what, but I am living in a world of memories and virtual contact. I have no friends that still live in the area; I can’t simply call by and have a chat or a cry, watch a movie or bake cookies. I truly miss the friends I made in Japan during my exchange. I keep in contact via Skype and Facebook but I see photos of events that I know I would have attended if I were still there. Seeing the laughter and the frivolity all while I have been in my room studying for final exams made it even harder. It is all through virtual contact. I am grateful for these technologies as I know that if we had to write letters and send them through the post I would have lost contact with so many more people, but it is still difficult.
I so desperately want to start the next chapter of my life; to begin the next challenge, as my exchange was a year ago. I don’t know why I cannot be the confident, proactive person I was in Japan while I’m here. I feel like I want to run away (particularly back to Japan) but I know that is not the answer. I don’t want to face the reality that was and is my life in Australia. Reverse culture shock is worse than what I experienced going abroad. At the beginning of an adventure there is excitement, anticipation and an unknowing. Back home, back at Uni, back to routine I feel like I am losing touch with all the experiences I had and returning to the person I was before I left rather than the being person I became.
I know that every person’s experience is different so I would really like to know how other people are dealing with being ‘home’.
I completely understand and relate to everything you have posted here!
I too have found it really hard to re enter, and its not the first time.
I found the way that I have been able to move forward easier is to do what you do when you are travelling or to get the feeling back that you had when you first moved overseas.
Get out of your comfort zone.
I signed up with the local volunteer bush fire brigade.
Completely out of my comfort zone, completely out of character, BUT its something that I would do when I was travelling and has given me that thrill again and made me much more confident.
I am also meeting new people.
I am also trying (trying being the operative word) to learn a language, to keep a connection with Europe and my friends who also speak this language and to also keep busy and etc.
I hope things get better for you!
Also another thing that I find easier on re entry is to plan a new trip (even small) which gives you something new to look forward too.
July 1, 2011 at 10:13 am
Morgan, getting out of your comfort zone on re-entry is a great suggestion – it’s exactly how we suggest students deal with culture shock on arrival so it makes sense to deal with reverse culture shock the same way. As well, meeting new people – not just trying to get back into what ‘was’, but accepting that times/relationships, friendships have changed and seeing that challenging fact as an opportunity – that’s growth!
Sarah have you thought about any of these kinds of coping and growth strategies?
Thank you both your insights – really valuable
July 2, 2011 at 12:50 am