Reentering the U.S. After a Year Abroad: Responsible Intentions (Huffington Post Blog)

by Maddy Lisaius 

Re-entry into my own society. They said it was going to be a challenge, and I believed them. On the airplane from Quito to Houston, I wondered how challenging stepping into my United States world would be after my “gap” year spent in Ecuador. The abundant unilingual English speakers? The absurd prices? The oozing consumerism? These all posed formidable threats.

But the airport didn’t shock me. And part of it felt like coming home in a way. In seconds, I was as comfortable as I had pushed to become in my eight months in Ecuador — that was probably the scariest moment. But nevertheless, I waited for the horrific moment of sheer surprise when the “reality” of the U.S. would shock me. Taking the bus down highways lined with strip malls and Targets and Walmarts? Sitting down in the dining hall to my first “American” meal? Going to the local emergency room with a parasitic infection? Flying home? Arriving home? Hot showers, heating, home?

I waited.