Though I finally made it back home I returned to something I still, after 2 months, cannot grow accustomed to. Reverse Culture shock hits you in a completely different way than any Culture Shock you might experience. It takes what was previously your everyday life, your home, your sentiments and throws it all under the bus because you’ve outgrown the sense of comfort that came with it. You realize all sorts of little aspects don’t add up in your mind and you question whether or not you were truly ever happy living in the ignorance of comfort. Every day I wake up to a lifestyle I realize I’m not suited for. A lifestyle I have a huge privilege of having yet cannot use to acquire any sort of fulfillment. Walking down the streets I am being pulled by my memories reminding me of the life I lived for 8 months filled with tranquility and genuine happiness. At the same time my eyes ground me to the reality of the materialistic and chaotic lifestyle that is pushed in my face within a city. It’s a hard adjustment to be able to realize the lens that I viewed home in are now clear to show the imperfections and problems that I cannot stand now.
It’s always difficult at first to begin talking to others here again. People just don’t get it, and they won’t get it. I can’t blame them for not understanding my experiences because they most likely have never had one. I can sit here and explain and tell them so many stories yet to them it’s just that, a story. I’m an unrelatable, behind the times boy who cannot relate to those closest to me in any way. There’s a difference in thought, speech, and interests now that there wasn’t before. There is now a lot more effort needed to go into different interactions with people around my age. I am just not on the same page as many of them and hold different things higher in my priorities. As time goes on there’s only so much I can do, but one thing that this year has taught me is that change is necessary.
Now the best thing about Reverse Culture Shock is that it emphasizes a lot of what I held dear to me. I know what I want in life, not necessarily what I want to do. I know the kind of person I want to be, I know the people I thrive with and I also know the best course of action to get to where I want to be. It focused me in a way that pushes me to do more. I am not happy where I am at right now, but thats okay. My time having fun is over and my realization is telling me to forge my own path to happiness that I am not finding here. Whether it be in Ecuador or somewhere else I have to find and make my way there given what I have. I made it 8 months with next to nothing to get me started. I have a whole lifetime and everything I need here, there is nothing stopping me other then a negative mindset. To acknowledge these shortcomings is the first step to reaching my goal. Realizing what I can change in my situation and what I can teach, along with how I can continue to improve myself is that Reverse Culture Shock taught me.
To forge my own path is the only way to find my way to fulfillment in an old home that I cannot recognize. A home I sit and wonder if I was always ignorant in seeing the imperfections of it all. I can spend days at a time reconnecting and revisiting what I once thought was a hallmark of a community, only to have these views crushed because of the materialistic society we have all bought into. Maybe I’m being too hard or overthinking everything. I could be wrong on everything and instead everything is better than ever. Yet, it still isn’t what I need to find happiness. The home I once knew is gone now, warped and torn due to a new perspective. It’s always going to be the same place, but it’s now always going to be missing something I cannot find.
And so I continue on as the deadline for this post arrives and I still wonder what else is out there for me to see. When is the next time I can experience Culture Shock? When can I finally be free and independent again? How do I find happiness within a society that does not align with my values? These are all basic questions that are always in the back of my mind, and will probably stay there until I find my way. I have the rest of my life to figure it all out, and hopefully soon I can again find a place I can call home.