I’ve been back in the US for two and a half weeks and am starting to settle in. The moments of reverse culture shock and general feelings of being overwhelmed lessen each day, but remain. I am learning how to live in this country again. Although I am settling into a level of familiarity being back in Portland and taking a job in research again, I am not quite the same person. I feel a little different in ways that are hard to describe.
It was an amazing year and a half/two years and I learned so much about myself and others — some stuff I want to cherish, while other things make me grateful for the culture I grew up in. There are things I want to hold onto, and things I want to leave far behind. Here are some of the things I hope to incorporate in my life back in the US.
- More minimal living – I want less space and fewer possessions, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. Yes, I will invest in a new pair of jeans, but otherwise I hope to wear only the items that are easily accessible to me without going into storage to retrieve more.
- Appreciation of food for its variety and simplicity.
- Friendship and the need to be present with those I love.
- The awareness that there is little I can control. Letting go is something I will continue to struggle with and I look forward to the challenge.
- Taking day trips/weekend getaways. Even one night somewhere else does so much to recharge my mind and soul.
- Meditation practice. Haven’t revisited this yet, but planning on it! Really. Someone hold me accountable! Or perhaps it will naturally happen when I am ready.
- Tea breaks. Wherever I went, people actually stopped for tea. “To go” was rare. I want to take the time to sit and enjoy.
- Writing. Though no longer an expat, I hope to continue to write about things I did while overseas, and things I experience here as a result. If there’s anything you are interested in learning about, I welcome questions and inspiration.