If you've ever moved back to your home country after spending a long time abroad, you're bound to encounter some reverse culture shock. Suddenly, your own country is unfamiliar and foreign and your expat life seems normal. So after two months back home in America, here are my biggest reverse culture shocks!
1. So. Many. CHOICES
Fionn and I are constantly amazed by the variety of choices here in America. Shopping for tortilla chips becomes overwhelming as I browse a gigantic aisle containing every kind of chip imaginable. If you are hungry and want to eat out, there are 20 different restaurants right outside your door. Want throw pillows? Every color and style is right here.
Walking into a place like Wal Mart still boggles my mind a little bit. It also begs the question, do we need all this?
2. Life is so much more convenient
Convenience is one of the tops words that springs to mind when I go to describe America. You can get everything drive through, from food to ATMs to dry cleaning. If you need something, a big box store probably has it. If you're willing to pay, someone is probably willing to do it for you.
This is such a contrast to Germany. There, if we needed something specific we either had to try to find it online or lie, beg, steal or cheat to get it locally, like during last year's heat wave and all the stores sold out of fans and we ended up sharing one with a neighbor. If you wanted something outside the norm, offering to pay more wasn't going to get you anywhere. For example, I once called a Vietnamese restaurant and asked to order summer rolls (the tasty shrimp and greens rolls wrapped in clear rice paper). The German guy taking my order promptly responded, "No! That's too hard to make. Pick something else!"
Dreams of delicious summer rolls were dashed that day
Situations like that made me really creative, but it also made me really annoyed. I appreciate the convenience of life in America.
3. There is so much water in American toilet bowls
Ok, this is weird, but this still freaks me out a little. WHY is there so much water in American toilet bowls? Can't we design a more efficient toilet system??
4. No one recycles.
I hated the complicated German recycling system, and I CAN NOT believe I'm saying this, but I do kinda miss recycling. As annoying as German recycling rules were, I felt better about separating my trash and recycling it rather than just chucking everything into the trash. I'm actually investigating recycling options in our new town.
5. Driving in America is much calmer than driving in Germany
After driving on the Autobahn for 2 years, I have to say-Germany has some really aggressive drivers. Tailgating, flashing lights, zooming around to pass and nearly hitting your car...I HATED driving in Germany. Since I've been back in the States, I've done multiple road trips and even driven through big cities like Atlanta. I haven't yet encountered the kind of aggressive, stressful driving that was the norm in Germany.
It is SO nice!
Fionn and I are off to a wedding this weekend for one of our good friends we met in Bavaria (it's being held here in Georgia!). But I'll be continuing from Reverse Culture Shock list on Monday!
Happy weekend, everyone :)