It really does happen. This thing we call Reverse Culture Shock - the strange feelings associated with returning to one's home culture after being overseas for a substantial period of time. This past year (September 2011-October 2012), I was living oversees in the UK, in school working towards my Master's degree at the University of Sussex. It was an amazing year, in more way than I can even describe.

I recently took a trip to San Francisco (I'm about 45 minutes away by car/public transportation) and since it was my first time going to the City since I had gotten back, I started reflecting on a number of things. Stepping out of my suburban life, going to SF felt like I was finally returning to a city that actually had a downtown and public transportation and things to do!

Reflections on symptoms of my Reverse Culture Shock:
  1. I miss public transportation. When I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to SF from Union City, I was reminded of how amazing public transportation is in all of Europe. I miss being able to just sit somewhere and let someone else do the steering. Driving is great in terms of independence and flexibility, but if public transportation is efficient and well organized, it's great.
  2. I don't know how I'm supposed to stand/act on escalators. When I was in SF, I was in a store and using the escalator. My friend and I were standing next to each other, and I noticed someone behind me and proceeded to move to the other side. The guy just stood there and kind of laughed because he didn't need to walk past us. I think I'm too used to always standing on the right of an escalator so that people can walk by on the left, especially in London. The idea makes sense to me!
  3. Watch the gap? What? At the BART station, the signs say Watch the Gap. But don't we have to Mind the Gap??
  4. What's the temperature? C? F? What?! I think I'm still getting confused by temperatures. Over in the UK, I was so used to thinking in Fahrenheit, but expressing it aloud in Celsius. Now, I'm trying to adjust to just think and express in Fahrenheit.
 


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