Re-adjusting and home sweet home
After just over 900 amazing days abroad, I finally made it home before Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Already since I have been back I have had the chance to see friends in Chicago, spend Turkey day with my entire for the first time in I don’t even know how many years, and also recently visited the good old college town. Being back in America has been surreal! While I focus on getting on with my life, I also am dealing with the “culture shock” of being back in the U.S. Ask anyone who has spent time living abroad for a while and they will tell you that the culture shock coming back home is often more intense than when you left. When I first got to Mongolia, I expected everything to be different. Coming home one slides back into American life very easily but every little thing might illicit an emotional response or thought. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, continue reading and get a glimpse into my thoughts.
- It is so strange being waited on by waiters and waitresses. I feel awkward and confused on how to proceed when a waiter is treating me so nicely or even taking my order. What did I ever do to deserve her filling up my water glass at every moment?!?!
- We are so lucky to have clean drinking water everywhere we look. I bought a couple of bottles of water before I realized I could just fill up at the tap.
- Ice. Wow. What a luxury. Don’t even get me started on water fountains. Crazy cool.
- It is an event for me every time I drive. Not just driving for the first time in several years but the quality of the roads, people following traffic laws, how fast we drive, etc. Driving is sooo boring in the states and there are distractions at every turn.
- The sheer number and variety of fast food restaurants is incredible.
- Same as above in regards to the selection at grocery stores. We have the best selection of every kind of food product in the world.
- The cereal aisle in a grocery store and heaven might be the exact same thing.
- Putting toilet paper in the toilet still scares me. Do you promise me it won’t clog?
- Things are so expensive here and people spend money like it isn’t anything at all. You can live very well off the cost of your average dinner in many parts of the world.
- I hate to say it but people in America complain a whole lot in general. I am sorry but the fact that your youtube video on your phone is not a real problem.
- American accents are amazing to hear. Asia gets American tourists but not many. Hearing so many Americans just going about their day speaking still blows my mind.
- Understanding every thing strangers say on the street is strange as well. Hearing people swear causes my head to turn and my mouth to gap open.
- We tip for everything here and I’m not convinced it is always necessary. I’m already used to it again but it was very weird the first couple of times.
- It is very strange to blend in and not be stared at all the time when I’m out in public. There are now a hundred blonde people on the street around me and another one is nothing to gawk at. It is both great and strange to not be the one person on the bus everyone is looking at.
- I find it very strange how taxis don’t slow down to follow me and ask where I’m going and if I want a ride.
- People are so tall here. I no longer feel like the tallest person in the city.
- In Mongolia there were customs on how to hand over money and what to do if you bump feet with someone. Here in America, I sometimes find myself reverting to the Mongolian way if I don’t think about it.
As you can see, the list goes on and on. There are so many things that I think about daily in regards to my old life in Mongolia. While I was there I fell in love with the country, the culture, and the people. I can’t wait to go back someday. In the meantime, I will incorporate the positive aspects of my life in Mongolia into my new life here and try to share as many things I learned about the country with my fellow Americans.
Goodbye and thank you to everyone for all of your support along the way.
You are awesome.
Hi everyone! I haven’t been active on this blog in sometime part because my Peace Corps service is now finished and part because I have been traveling! In just 3 short months I traveled south through China, Nepal, India, and will be leaving Sri Lanka tonight. After a day layover in Hong Kong I will finally make my long awaited return back to the U.S.A. Check out the links below to see some of the photos from my sister and I’s journey. Once I get back to America I will do a final post or two saying goodbye to all those who have followed me on this incredible adventure. Safe travels for now!
After Service Travel Plans
My last days in Mongolia were so rushed and the goodbyes were the only thing on my mind for the month leading up to my departure. I wish I had the presence of mind to say thank you to the country and people of Mongolia.
Without a doubt, Mongolia and its people gave me more than I gave to them. There is way too much to list so I’m just going to say I will forever be grateful for everything I learned, everything I was given, and for all the experiences I was able to participate in. Thank you Mongolia. I really do love you and will never forget you. I promise to be back someday. Hopefully more than once…
My second incredibly broad thank you is to you America. Thank you tax payers for allowing me to gi on this incredible and transforming journey. Thank you friends and family for all the support before I left and during my service. Thank you everyone who sent me a care package or letter. Thank you everyone who followed my blog here or followed me on Facebook. I honestly could not have done PC service without knowing I had America and my friends and family waiting for me to come back.
I’m having a great and safe time traveling. See you soon U.S.A.
In just about a week I will wrap up my PC service. After that, I have two weeks left on my Mongolian visa and I will spend the time traveling with my sister and her friends in the province of Khovsgol. We’ll be visiting the Tsaatan people, whoa are the smallest ethnic group in Mongolia (less than 500 people left in the world) who are most well known for herding reindeer.
After I leave Mongolia, I will embark on a 3+ month adventure through China, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka with my sister Lindsey. I’m super excited to spend that time with her as well as see what I’m sure will be an endless amount of beautiful places and meet a ton of interesting people.
My return to the States will be in Chicago November 21st at 12:10pm. I’m super excited to see EVERYONE I KNOW back home. It pains me to have to wait so long to get home but I know my travels will be worth it in the end.
Thank you to all who followed my blog or even just read a single post. It means a lot to me and I hope you were able to take something positive away from it.
See you all soon.