“They’re talking to you!”-Reverse Culture Shock

Two weeks from now I head home for a couple weeks to visit my friends and family back in America. I have already started mentally preparing myself for the reverse culture shock I’ll receive when I go home. Last year, however, the thought of this never crossed my mind and it made for some pretty awkward and interesting moments. So on the blog today: thoughts that go through my head when going back West after a year in China and South East Asia.

*In the Airport*

I’m tired.

What time is it here?

Morning? Afternoon. Oh, 10 pm at night.

God, the line to immigration is long.

That person left a gap. I bet I could slide in there.

Oh wait, I have to queue. Must remember to queue.

Was that lady in front of me?

Did I walk in front of her?

Maybe I should just go to the back.


*Buying Food*

I’m going to get the biggest cheeseburger.

Wait no, tacos.

Wait no, a Twix bar.

Nachos? Pizza? A pretzel?

Oh look, a Panda Express. Yeah I’ll definitely get some pork fried rice.

*Buying Things*

How expensive is that?


Okay, that’s not bad.

Wait that’s like 60 yuan.

60 yuan for THAT?!

I’m definitely not paying that much. There must be something cheaper.

There is nothing cheaper.

I guess I am paying that much for that.

Wait, I don’t have any USD.


*Using American Bank Cards at the ATM*

Do I even have my American bank card still?


Oh good I have it.

Now what’s my pin number?

How many numbers are in my pin number?

6. Definitely 6.

Oh no, 4. Maybe 4.

What 4 numbers would I have picked?

Maybe they’re the first 4 numbers of my Chinese pin number.

No. Not that.

How many attempts do I get before they think I stole this card?

Maybe I can just use the card to buy things.

No. Need the pin number for that too.

Oh wait, I know what it is.


Is that how it’s suppose to happen here?

Yep. There’s my money.

*Walking in a Mall*

I wish that woman would control her kid.

Why is she looking at me funny?


Did I say that out loud?

Does she understand English?

Dammit. Everyone here understands English.

Maybe she didn’t hear me.

She definitely heard me.

Should I say sorry or walk away?

I’ll just walk away.

*Driving a Car*

I cannot wait to get to drive a car!

I have missed driving so much!

Look at all these cars staying in their lane and driving on the right side of the road!

There aren’t even that many cars! And no scooters!

It’s going to be so much fun to drive!

Maybe Mom will let me borrow the car later.

Do I really want to drive?

Do I remember how to drive?

Keys. Brakes. Gas.

I totally remember still.

I’m definitely going to drive somewhere while I’m home.

Did I bring my license back with me?

Does a passport count as a license?

I’ll try again next year.


*Going to a Bar*

Keys. Check.

Money. Check.

Phone. Check.

Alright, I’m ready.

I can’t wait to have a real beer.

Man these beers are expensive.

Have drinks always been this expensive?

I guess that beer isn’t too bad.

I’ll have one of those.

Why is the bartender looking at me funny?

What does he want?

My license?

Why does he want that?

Ohhhhhh. I’m being carded.

I’ve kinda missed being carded.

Of course I have my license.

I don’t have my license.

Can I get this beer without my license?

Nope. Definitely not.

I’ll try again later.

Other thoughts while spending time in America:

It’s great that no one is staring at me!

I kind of miss people staring at me.

No one one the street has told me I’m beautiful.

But no one has taken my picture either!

I really blend in here. It’s nice blending in.

I miss being the foreigner.

Where are the $3 massage places?

I’m glad I don’t just have to eat Chinese food.

I would kill for genuine Chinese food.

Babies are wearing diapers!

I can drink the water!

Should I get some bottled water just to be safe though?

It’s great that everyone speaks English!

I hate that I have to speak to people because I actually understand what they’re saying.

Man, I love being home in America.

I cannot wait to get back to Asia.

There we have it. Some (trust me, there were a lot more) thoughts while being back in America. It’s amazing how a year away in a different country with an entirely different country can make you forget just how things work back home. Even during my few weeks home, I miss obvious things like the cheapness and even things that I often complain about like everyone noticing me because I’m the obvious foreigner. Southeast Asia and China have definitely wormed their way into my heart in ways I didn’t imagine. I’ll keep coming back home though and I’ll keep exploring new areas of the world. So get ready America. I’m coming for you.


Sorry in advance to anyone I ignore in a store because I forget I can understand you, anyone that I offend because I forget that you can understand me, and anyone I cut off in a queue. I’ve been in Asia for two years and I need some time to readjust to the west.

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