Reverse Culture Shock – The Struggle is Real

I’ve been back in the United States since August of 2016, yet I am just now getting the chance to relax and write about my first experience with “reverse culture shock.” It is by no means my first time studying abroad, and I have always been very outspoken with the flaws the US has and why I have always loved the thought of moving outside of the States. So why, then, did this last trip of mine abroad have me experience such a difficult time back??

I can, for sure, think of one main difference: this time I made friendships and experienced the German culture from a perspective I had never had the chance to do before. Those friendships I made had me hating my University and lifestyle over here. I mean, seriously…I actually had to keep myself ditching from class, and the one thing that stopped me from doing so was that my University takes class attendance far more seriously than Trier University did.

 

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Left to Right: Martha (her camera, yet photo courtesy of some random stranger), Brigitte, Me & Emily enjoying a trip to…honestly some random little place.

 

My first week back my immune system said, “Auf Wiedersehen!! I’m taking a vacation myself.” Thus, putting me on my ass with sinus congestion, headaches from not being able to breathe, severe cold, and who knows what the hell else. That had me despise being back already. On top of that, I had developed a gluten intolerance before I left for Germany, yet found out I could occasionally enjoy a loaf of freshly baked bread there, whereas so much as any bread or wheat related materials here had me sick to my stomach. I love my carbs and being a broke college student trying to afford Gluten Free products over here makes me feel even poorer.

It wasn’t just the bread I was able to eat now and then that I missed, but the food in general. I hate the milk here. I truly, honestly always have since I was a child. To me, it leaves a filmy texture in my mouth and I could never stand it. Let alone I sure as heck wouldn’t finish what was at the bottom of my cereal bowl. However, the milk in Germany and Europe as a whole was so…so…creamy and delicious and I actually freaking liked it! As in, I would buy milk every other day (they don’t sell gallon jugs like we do, small daily shopping is more popular than weeks on end). Not to mention the eggs never had to be refrigerated due to not having been power washed, caged ones like here in the US. These were imported from the local area or the next country over, thus being cage free and not going bad if kept at room temperature (P.S. try finding some that you don’t have to refrigerate. TRUST ME!! The taste is so…eggy).

Once classes started here in September, sadly I only got a month off due to classes going until July there and not starting till October, I had to find a job/ make money, afford another loan (magically it seems like…ha!! Just kidding!! More like sufferably so…), pack up, move in and start studying. Mind you, I was only on a student visa while overseas, so I had no job (though I received a financial aid/ scholarship stipend all exchange students get) and all the free time in the world to travel when I didn’t have class. Which, by the way, were once a week rather than daily like we do here so most of the time I’d be done by Thursday afternoon and was free until my Monday night classes started. Oh, and Friday classes are a huge NoNo there unless it’s for special circumstances.

 

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Weihnachten (Christmas) in Germany is the best. There is a giant festival in the town where everyone goes to drink Gluhwein (spiced, warm red wine).

 

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I’d have to say, I never was a party animal or went out much, but when the three of us got together…who the heck knows what direction the night would take. No worries! We never did anything illegal (at least by European laws, though in the US I’m sure we would have been frowned upon).

 

GREEEEAAAATTTT!!!! Now I have to learn to have homework every day, again, while working two jobs, going to school full time, all while trying to balance out a social life so I’m not stressed and locked in my room or the library the entire time. Ugh…(I think at this point I lost another one of my 9 {technically 7 left} lives). To make things REALLY embarrassing, I still to this moment have had to stop spelling every ‘sh’ in the English language as ‘sch.’ Yeah…the struggle is real. It is more than real. It is a painful bitch-slap across the face by a tennis racket real.

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Scratchy struggling is perfect for how I’m trying to deal with life right now (probably all 4 years of University but still…)

 

Okay…I’ve been rambling this whole time I feel like. I know. I’m sorry (not really, though). The whole point to this was me missing these amazing people I met and traveled with. How some were in the same boat as me, while others were old German friends from years ago. I am comforted by the thought that I can write them whenever I want or send them silly postcards of good ‘ol Minnesnowta, or, better yet, being grateful that I live, as do they, in places around the world with internet access so we can Skype and message one another on Facebook or Instagram. It’s better than nothing, but it’s definitely not the same. *insert super sad emoji face with lots of tears or a sobbing GIF of an upset child*

 

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Or Dwight from “The Office” being hysterical works too!

 

So…I guess that’s where I’m at, at the moment and though I’m not suffering anymore, I am still twitching to get a job once I graduate this Spring so I can travel ASAP. I’m still a nomad to the soul.

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