People don’t often talk about reverse culture shock. But it’s been on my mind for the past several months. Since moving back to the United States from Europe, I’m still learning how to readjust. If I’m completely honest, my first impression of coming back was mostly negative for various reasons.
First off, many of the buildings in the US are just plain ugly, especially compared to the Bavarian-style structures I’m used to seeing everyday. Sorry, not sorry, America.
Then there’s the over friendliness. If I’m going out grocery shopping, people want to talk to me for some reason. I just want my apples, so please, please leave me alone. One stranger even tried to offer me a job when I just wanted to go through the checkout line, and I actually enjoy my current job, thank you very much. (Leave me alone!) I miss the blunt, honest fashion in Germany where people mind their own business.
I am learning to adjust though. I like my house, and I’m super excited that I can do whatever I want to the garden come spring! It’s a huge garden. And did I mention my job is awesome? The other day, I had a kid fold me a little paper crane, and it was the sweetest thing.
Is it possible to get homesick
for a place I’ve never been?
To hear the hollow echo in the pit of my heart
as the revelation settles in,
covering my arteries like a coating of dust
speck by speck
—this realization that I’ve never truly belonged.
I miss the way the forests reclaimed the city,
and even though there was still smog,
I could bike to work through the woods.
I don’t like how now I look out the window
in this sticky refrigerated restaurant
and see a boxy convenient store, a cemetery, a street.
Is this what they call a view?
I laid in the grass beneath the blanket of sunshine
to escape the throngs of people
yet a lady still found me,
and asked me how I was.
Why are the people so nice here?
What do they want from me?
Ask me where I’m from one more time,
and I just might tell you—
I don’t know.
I don’t know anymore.
Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Have you ever experienced culture shock or reverse culture shock? What was your favorite poem of mine from 2019?