Feeling Culturally Shocked

How I always feel....

How I always feel….

There is a sort of debilitating sadness that encroaches on you when you are a foreigner. A friend recently said that we must not be meant as world travelers and I hope she’s wrong, but maybe she isn’t.

Here I am, in a country I always hoped to be in, (granted I didn’t mean to live here, but you can’t be too picky when world traveling I suppose) drinking a White Tiramisu at the local Starbucks and writing outside like I’m some sort of poet. What’s NOT to be happy about?!

But, culture shock’s a…well you get the picture.


I’m not sure if I felt so low after Australia because I was coming off vacation or if jumping from a culture that seems like home since everyone speaks English but isn’t was just too much for me. Especially after coming back to a foreign land instead of going home.

221 days seems too long before I see my family face to face again. Before I hold Carson Dee’s in my (hopefully by then) well sculpted arms. 7 months and 7 days too many before I can drive my car and listen to the radio with the windows down and a Texas sky up.

All I can think of is home now that it’s so far away. Before, another year had seemed easy to manage. I felt like time had flown by as I had already been here for almost eight months at the time. (Now I’ve been here almost ten and it suddenly feels like the honeymoon is over…at least I’m assuming that’s how it feels if it feels anything like a giant leech has landed on your back and is attempting to suck your soul out through your spine. As I have never been married nor honeymooned, I am using my artistic license, we English majors get those when we graduate along with our degree.)

I miss how I THINK I USED to feel at my first school. I could be really wrong of course, because, since we do so much school hopping, we tend to romanticize our schools a bit as we leave them. I can probably chalk up the running away of time to learning how to be an ALT, to learning how to live here, and to seeing new things everyday. Now that I know how and the everyday has become old hat in some ways, I want to go home! Hahahaha!

Don’t get me wrong, I really love Japan. I love that I feel like I DO more ever since I came here. I love that I am setting up schedules in my life a little. I love that I’m trying to change myself. But, I miss funky dancing in the kitchen with my brothers. I miss laughing so hard I cry because my dad is the biggest goof in the world that loves to make me lose it for some strange reason. I miss watching Shop Around the Corner with you on your couch. I miss wine and cheese and hummus. I miss my cat. Cats even.

But, I know when I DO go home, I’ll miss things here too. I’ll miss leaving all my windows open while I sleep. I’ll miss the cherry blossoms and the river. I’ll miss Jenny being upstairs and across the way. I’ll miss running into people who are so excited to see me they ask to take a picture with me. I’ll miss that happy feeling of realizing it wasn’t just me feeling that way about them. (I should have asked them to let me get a picture too!!) I’ll miss riding my bike and walking everywhere. I’ll miss having my own place and being responsible for only me.

Sometimes I feel like living here was the worst decision I have ever made, because now, my heart will forever be in two places. I hope, as I change and grow (hopefully physically I’ll SHRINK!!), my heart will double, triple, quadruple in size so that I don’t feel like such a big part of me is missing when I go home.

Sigh here’s to Christmas I suppose.

4 thoughts on “Feeling Culturally Shocked

  1. I remember that feeling once we went back to Germany after a visit home. You’re growing and you’re doing a great job. I could not be more proud of you!

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