Reverse Culture Shock is Real - 5 Adjustments Since Moving Home
It has been so long since my last post and that was not intentional. An international move really takes it out of you. Who would have guessed? Clearly not me.
We’re back in Minnesota, have been reunited with our dog (his relocation went perfectly), and are currently reacclimating to home. You would think after 8 weeks of being home I would be able to say acclimated, but I cannot. This phase of our journey has definitely been the hardest, and maybe I’m saying that because I’ve already forgotten the road bumps experienced during the other phases, or maybe I’m saying that because it is true, ha!
I know things will settle down and our life will begin to feel more normal, but I think I can speak for both of us and say we are ready for our normal to begin. Hopefully more to come on this soon, and I’ll cryptically transition now…
As you can see from the title of this post, being home has come with a fair share of adjustments. Reverse culture shock is real! Here are 5 things that have required reprograming.
The American Flag
Our flag is everywhere! Hell ya, ‘Merica. But it’s really noticeable when you haven’t seen it flying everywhere for two years. Have American flags always flown outside of every Perkins restaurant? Time to go get our American flag out of the storage unit and get that thing flying.
I’ve also totally embraced the American flag, I purchased an American flag bumper sticker for my truck (yes, I now drive a F-150) and tons of American apparel, currently typing this post in some American flag pajama pants.
Public Bathroom Stalls
What is going on with these bathroom stalls in America? They’re pointless. You might as well just go to the bathroom with the door open. When I stand up I can see out into the entire bathroom, and while doing my business I can see everything going on through the stall gap.
European bathroom stall pictured on the left versus American stall on the right
Stalls in Ireland, and Europe, are so much more private. They’re literally a room, where the door goes floor to ceiling, with no gap between the lock and the wall. You are in your own room and have the privacy you need to do your business. I have found myself getting gun-shy when using public toilets at home. I used them for 28 years, never thought about the lack of privacy once, now I think about it every time I pee in public.
Okay, if you knew me before our move you’re probably laughing at this item. I was the plastic queen. I used plastic all the time, I recycled, but did nothing to cut back on use.
Then I moved to Ireland, where there is a plastic bag tax. Basically, if you want your shopping items bagged you’re going to pay for that bag. So people started bringing their own reusable shopping bags. Ireland’s tax has cut annual bag usage from 350 bags per person to 14 bags per person over the last 10 years, and has drastically decreased plastic bag litter in Ireland!
So, after 2 years of shopping with my own bags you begin to appreciate the transition Ireland made! Fast forward to our move home.
We were shopping at Target for hangers. At check-out I had to tell the cashier THREE TIMES I did not want them bagged. She was practically arguing with me, “it would just be easier for you if I bagged the hangers…” It was the weirdest conversation I’ve had in two years, I eventually won. If you don't need the bag, please simply tell the cashier you do not need it! Lets do our part to cut down on plastic use!
I am so cold everywhere! Minnesotans really like their AC blasting. And I get it, it’s hot out. You need your air on when it’s 90F/32C, but when the temperatures drop to 70F/21C do you really still need it blasting? Ha, after two years in Europe I definitely do not. It is so funny how the body adjusts, I almost prefer the natural AC-free feel.
The Word Awesome
I have found the most American word ever: awesome! The word no one in Ireland uses.
Language is so funny and then being removed from a version of the language for two years, you instantly notice a difference in words. In place of the word awesome an Irish person would say 'grand’ or ‘lovely’. Aren’t those just great words? Dare I say better than awesome? But I suppose since I’m home it’s time to start using awesome again. Ah, that'll be grand...I mean awesome.
Thanks for reading! As I continue to find my routine at home the blog will pick up! More soon.