Well, this is my fifth week at home and I am still not sure if I am experiencing reverse culture shock.
For the first two weeks, all I really wanted to do was hang out in my house and spend time with Pocky (Bob). Not so different from my normal M.O. I did have extreme jetlag and woke up at 3:30am the first morning in my own home, 4:30am the next day, and so on for a little over a week. Pocky did manage to pry me off of the couch with tickets to the touring version of Memphis, which was amazing. And in an effort to encourage me to escape the academic bubble I typically live in, he purchased tickets for later in the year to Come Fly Away, Alvin Ailey Dance and Coldplay.
There are definitely differences between living in Charlotte and London, and aspects of each that I prefer. One of which, I longed for my electric kettle that I grew fond of in London. So much so, that a new one should arrive on my doorstep any day now. I can’t figure out why they have not caught on in the U.S., but they should be on your must have list, I promise. I do not miss the conversion rate of the dollar to the pound or the hefty bank fees that I racked up. I enjoyed my time away, but it did not feel like home.
The beginning of the semester came rather quickly, and I did not feel prepared. Yet, here I am in the third week, fully buried in homework and adjusting to my new schedule. Now, if only I could get adjusted to studying for the GRE…
As for my transition, I am happy to be out of my tiny dorm room (that was same size as my closet here in our home), with a tiny bed under the window, and a horrible draft. I don’t miss the smell of beer in the elevators, drunken kids, and waiting for five washers and dryers in a building with 250 plus students. I do miss my roommates, who made me feel at home; especially Maryam, who brought me her space heater daily so I would not freeze to death while I worked.
I will miss zipping around London on the underground and via train, though I will not miss the rush hour crowd where people smacked full force into my shoulders daily because they were in too much of a hurry to move ever so slightly out of the way. I will also miss the ability to hop on a train and be in a different country such as France or Belgium in under three hours, or the hour and a half plane ride to Dublin, IR. Do not fret — the Dublin blog is in the que… I will miss the culture, food, music, and other forms of art. Also, I will miss all of the people from all of the places I visited, especially my family and close friends whom I rarely see in person.
Last week, I attended a study abroad re-entry party at UNC Charlotte to welcome us all home. Everyone had great stories to tell, ranging from poignant to embarrassing, but everyone seemed to have life changing experiences. I listened to most of everyone talk about wanting to leave again and I thought, not me. I am happy to be home for a while. I know I’ll get the itch to travel again soon, but for now I’m just grateful for the experiences along the way.
FYI – there are numerous blogs still coming because between the travel and the homework, I just ran out of time to write the blog. Upcoming: Croatia, Dublin, Scotland, Bath, Bristol, plus several on my experiences and studies in London. Thanks to all you for your kind comments about the blog and for all of the ongoing support.