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Reverse Culture Shock

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

From Wanderlust to "Reverse Culture Shock": The Hilarious Pitfalls of Moving Back to the USA

Back to the good old USA

Ah, the land of the free and the home of the brave! After two years of gallivanting around the globe, exploring exotic cultures, savoring foreign delicacies, and perfecting your accent in multiple languages, it's time to return to the good ol' United States of America. But wait, what's this strange feeling creeping up? Is it excitement or... is it "reverse culture shock"? Brace yourself for an uproarious journey as we explore the pitfalls of moving back to the USA after being abroad for years.

Dont be offended
Language barriers can be tricky

Accents Lost in Translation

As you return to the land where hamburgers reign supreme and baseball is the national pastime, your foreign-acquired accent can lead to some humorous encounters. Suddenly, your carefully cultivated Italian accent transforms into a hybrid monstrosity that leaves your American friends raising their eyebrows in confusion. Brace yourself for hilarious miscommunications and a barrage of "Can you say that again?" requests. My poor husband keeps answering people in Turkish and getting a few sideways looks every time. I am pretty sure the guy at home depot doesn't know what Tesekur Ederim means. (Thank you)

Its a crazy world
Metric vs Imperial systems

Metric Mayhem

The metric system can be a bewildering challenge upon your return, from miles to kilometers, ounces to grams, and Fahrenheit to Celsius. As you navigate the land of ounces, pounds, and gallons, be prepared for moments of hilarity when you confidently order "a pint of beer" only to be met with a server holding a comically oversized glass. The best laugh was at the dealership that sold us the new RV when we asked where the Kilometers were on the dashboard speedometer.

Turkish food is amazing too!
Italian food is the best in the world!

Food Fiascos

After indulging in diverse culinary delights around the world, the return to American cuisine can come as a shock to your taste buds. From massive portion sizes to questionable ingredients in some fast-food joints, your refined palate might revolt in protest. Get ready to share amusing tales of confusion over food labels, epic quests to find international ingredients, and the occasional side-eye from the local food snob. Coffee is the #1 sadness I am facing today. It's just not the same as Turkish or Italian coffee. I am trying Death Wish Coffee to try and get my daily fix but we will see how that goes.

secret password is "Jump"
Technology changes are massive from a 3rd world country to the USA

Technological Turmoil

The tech-savvy haven you once called home might have advanced leaps and bounds while you were gallivanting overseas. Be prepared for a dose of technological chaos as you navigate the latest gadgets, apps, and social media platforms that have popped up in your absence. Brace yourself for hilarious moments of befuddlement as you attempt to make sense of the contemporary world of emoji-laden messages and selfies. Going from a village where we were lucky to get 3G from a satellite provider to 5G on several devices from our new T-Mobile Home device we just added to our camper, is, to say the least, a happy experience!

Social Norms are fundamental to adapting

Social Norms Reimagined

Culture shock is a well-documented phenomenon, but what happens when you experience it in your own country? Returning to the USA after years abroad means reacquainting yourself with societal norms that have evolved in your absence. Prepare for side-splitting moments as you navigate through new slang, unexpected cultural references, and rapidly changing social dynamics that will make you feel like a time traveler dropped into the 21st century. Take for instance the new norm of everything being either homophobic, transphobic, or racist. These connotations give me the willies. What happened to make everyone so offended by everything? I don't want to go off on a rant here but, please, for the love of God, stop with the ridiculous barrage of intentionally mislabeling EVERYONE! The whole world isn't against you just because we may not share your passion for the latest fad in this idiotic cancel culture society.

Say yes to new adventures!

Politically Peculiar

Returning to the USA means immersing yourself in the unique blend of political theater, social debates, and ever-evolving policies that make up the American landscape. Prepare for amusing encounters as you try to decipher the latest political jargon, navigate heated discussions with newfound zeal, and learn how to use your overseas experiences as the ultimate "I've been there, let me tell you how they do it!" trump card. Not to mention, we have been told to our faces that we must hate America. How is traveling through Europe and Asia making us USA racist? We are still 100% true blue Americans and we love this country! In my opinion, calling us out for hating on America because we are honest about what we think needs to change in our own country is akin to a Hitler-style regime censorship campaign. I have taken note of quite a few friends (I use this term loosely) who have shown their true jealous green envy by downgrading us for being travelers. I will set the record straight right now.

We Love our country.

We are not racist or phobic of any sex, religion, or social caste.

We are not rich, and we struggle every day to keep doing what we think is an adventure.

And, unless you are paying our bills, or sending us a big fat check to sponsor us, we don't give a rat's ass about how you think we should live our lives. Your judgment is not welcome here.

Its all about the big buck!

Bureaucratic Ballyhoo

Ah, the joys of red tape, paperwork, and government offices. Moving back to the USA means reacquainting yourself with a bureaucracy that can be frustrating and hilarious. Get ready for anecdotes about grappling with complex tax forms, navigating the DMV, and dealing with customer service representatives who may or may not be robots.

Traveling makes you more aware of the things you have and dont have.

Moving back to the USA after years of gallivanting around the world can be an adventure filled with pitfalls, cultural misfires, and the best bad-for-you food you've ever tasted!

My advice to those coming back after a long sabbatical from their home country is to not worry about what others think and live your life the way you choose to.



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