Adapting to home again

The view from our apartment in Marseille, France.

Even more than a week after my husband and I returned from our trip of a lifetime to Marseille, France and Barcelona, Spain I was still reeling from the adventure.

Almost everything about my daily life here in Myrtle Beach, S.C. seemed strange to me after living in two different cultures…even if it was only for two weeks. I read that what I was feeling was called reverse culture shock.

Reverse culture shock is realizing that your view on the world has changed, but no one around you at home has changed.

When we were in Marseille and Barcelona, we tried everything we could to live like the locals.

We adapted to their eating schedule, walked everywhere and tried to speak the language (French was easier for me than Spanish.)

In a twitter chat not long after the trip with other travelers, we discussed reverse culture shock and how to deal with it.

One traveler wrote “enjoy that you are a person that experiences culture shock when returning home. It is kind of a blessing.”

It is a blessing. I am very blessed that my husband and I had enough money to go and that my husband’s mother was willing to take care of our two dogs for two weeks.

Another said to incorporate small things you loved about the other culture into your daily life.

This is all great advice that I slowly let sink in. However, it is hard to incorporate eating at 11 p.m. with friends like they do in Spain when you have to get up at 7 the next morning to get ready for work. It is also hard to have a long lunch like they do in France when you have a deadline looming.

It makes me wonder if our work-driven American society is missing the boat on life. Although the French and Spanish do have their own problems with government, national debt and unemployment, both cultures seem to enjoy life more than most Americans. They take time for people, long lunches, chats with friends and good food. Americans are more than happy to eat at their desk (guilty) or run to McDonald’s for a quick unhealthy hamburger before returning to the grind.

Perhaps that is what got to me so much. I would like to take time for the small pleasures in life instead of staying indoors working all day long. But, without my job (that I love), I wouldn’t have had the money to take this life changing trip.

Almost a catch 22, but for now I will ponder my predicament….and plan our next trip to Ireland!

Check out photos from our trip here.


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