I have been back in the United States for just over 2 weeks now. It’s weird to think that just a mere 3 weeks ago I was in Tokyo with old friends, and now I am two weeks into the fall semester of my senior year UWO.
When I came home from France in June 2010, I had an extremely hard time adjusting. I went through awful reverse culture shock, and I hated everything about being back in the United States. Despite the fact that I was surrounded by family and friends who loved me, it took me a long time to adjust and accept the fact that I was back in the United States. In fact, it took a lot longer than I wanted it to. I think the time upon my return from France was one of the hardest times of my life.
I didn’t have that same experience with Japan. I have a few theories as to why.
- I didn’t have a good or proper “Good bye” with France. Everything was rushed, unemotional, and just unreal. I didn’t have time to adjust to the fact that I was leaving; I finished my exams, packed, and hopped the next train to Paris. Goodbyes were unemotional. I had so many things in France I had not yet accomplished, and I was not ready to leave Europe. In Japan, I had gotten to do some sightseeing, and I left myself a week for travels; six of those days being spent in Tokyo with old American family friends. I got to eat American food, and see people I know for six days before traveling home to the other side of the world. I think that helped in my adjustment process.
- Additionally, I think I better mentally prepared myself for the reverse culture shock this time, because I knew what an awful process it was coming home from France. I don’t feel the same longing for my old life as I did for months after returning from Europe. I see the Facebook statuses and wall posts of my Japanese and American friends, and it is evident that they are hurting like I was, but I of course am not judging because I was in their shoes once too.
Though I may not have realized it all yet, I believe that I have changed because of my 2 months in Japan. I learned many things about myself:
- Though I am an open person and try to not be judgmental, I still have a lot of work to do in that category. Being in a completely different culture really opened my eyes to that one. It was a hard thing to admit to myself, but now it is something I am improving about myself.
- I need to be more flexible; Guy Healy Japan = changes upon changes upon changes; I needed to stop dwelling and just accept what was at the time. I definitely got better at that.
- I am very good at trying new foods (even though I have gone back to my old ways in the states) !
- I need to get better at direct confrontation. I won’t always have Sara, Kendra, Chelsa and Erin to talk with 🙂
- I appreciate and am thankful to be a citizen of the United States of America. Japan marks my 9th visited country; the more I travel the more I realize what a special and unique country we have.
Because of Japan I am even more aware of myself and my culture, and where I fit into the world’s spectrum. I am more open, more accepting, and more cultured.
People keep asking me, “Dana, where are you going next!?” I do not know the answer for that. I just know I want to go.