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Reverse Culture Shock: Home Away From Home

 

There’s a bit of home in home; but being gone for so long, being home no longer felt like it could be the only home. I had this feeling once before when I moved to New York City for college, and that first Winter Break was a strange time as I try to readjust being back in California. But this time, I had been out of the country. On another continent. Speaking a different language. Readjusting was not going to be the easiest thing to do.

I was finally getting used to being in South America, and then I had to leave. I wasn’t worried as much about getting used to being back in the States, because I was excited to see my family and friends. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I had been gone and life doesn’t stop once you leave. I know, shocker. I thought it would be easier to adjust to California, than it had been to Argentina. I, at least, knew California.

Maybe I lucked out, since my family only spoke Spanish in California. Or maybe it was the fact that all I had been missing (spicy food, slang I knew, and a bit more of stability in my life) was back. But then that feeling hit. I didn’t feel completely at home. There were jokes and food I could’t share with my family and friends. I was unable to express how happy I had been in South America. I was this outsider. I had been off the radar for a long time (a couple of months but apparently with social media, it is a long time!). I had to reintroduce myself to many people I had previously known. I was different. They were different. But maybe this was just in California. I mean, hey, they only get to see me once in a while, so of course I am changing nonstop to them. New York City would be different, I thought.

New York City was not different. I had been gone for even longer from this wonderful city, and some people even thought I had dropped out (I know! Cray cray!). So as I began my transition back into this English-Speaking country, I began to see the city with those same fresh pair of eyes I had when I first arrived. Everything became an adventure, even taking the N train to Target in Brooklyn! I began immediately to plan what I was going to visit and my camera was ready to go. And then school started.

In Argentina, classes were spread out and even though I had an internship and a job, I still had time to hang out with friends and sightsee. But New York City was another ball game. I was scoring goals instead of touchdowns. Acting took over super quickly, and then came the internship, and then came the job. Then free time went out the window. But thankfully I made friends in Argentina, who also came back to the US.

These friends have been the best support as I get used to being back, along with my sorority sisters. They understand that once in a while I need to speak Spanish or be reminded of Argentine food and slang. They are the ones I call when I need to share an inside joke about being abroad. They are the ones who remind me of home. Because that’s what Argentina became in the end to me, a home away from home. And I get homesick once in a while.

But I am glad to be back, no doubt about that! Time for some spicy food!

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