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Why Reverse Culture Shock Isn’t All Bad

posted Feb 17, 2018, 5:27 PM by Rebecca Choi
When I was in Australia, my writing was inspired by butterflies and exotic birds and all things green and alive. I wrote elegant nature poetry and blogged about how amazing every single day was. The sun always shone, and it rarely rained. But when it did, I wanted to dance in it. It was warm summer rain every time. Not the cold, horrible, freeze-the-ends-of-your-hair, ice-sheet-on-your-car-window, kind of rain we get here. And when it rained, I mean, it rained. One time it rained for a week straight, down-poured nearly the whole time. It was magnificent. Unbelievable and astounding. It was warm and humid and the trees breathed out the clouds. I lived in the rain forest, nestled right next to the beach. How much better could life even get?

Coming back to the concrete jungle after spending the semester in tropical paradise is tough. The air is dry and the weather unyielding. Everyone speaks American English again, and there’s no accent to get lost in, no slang to figure out, no newness or wonder or awe. Being back here, something is missing. I feel like I left my soul in Australia.

So obviously, I’m not dealing so well with the reverse culture shock this time around. Yeah, it’s tough. But that’s life. And it isn’t all bad. These stark differences have rocked my world. And that can be a good thing, sometimes. It’s good for my writing. I’m exploring new and different ways of writing and reading and being. I’m a firm believer that the sad is more interesting and compelling than the happy. The anguish and grief I feel for leaving my new home abroad feeds my writing. My dissatisfaction lends itself to my creativity. And my writing is exploring topics unique to my home, to this place.

The concrete jungle isn’t such a bad setting, after all.