Most people feel homesick after a while in foreign countries and cultures, others simply enjoy it and don’t even think about their home country anymore. Out of sight – out of mind.
Then there are others who miss parts of it, like the dark marzipan chocolate, the brown bread, home-made plum pie or the red-cherry ice cream you don’t get anywhere else. The walk in the snowy park or the street musicians who play that lonely tune which make you shed a tear or laugh about your misfortunes.
The best thing about coming home after a while is the change of perspective. Important things suddenly seem so distant and unimportant, other things or people you didn’t recognise before stand out.
Or you simply notice the difference in service quality here and there, as it happened to Firefly lately, an Australian who lives in Tokyo/Japan and came back for a home trip. It was sort of a reverse culture shock.
Another guy, coming back from Japan as well, wrote that in the comments:
“Coming back from Japan after a year and a half to a small western town was weird. Had someone used neutron bombs or had the plague wiped out the population? Where is everybody? Why the wide streets and no cars? Huge, stores almost empty, with aisles that looked like they were mean to drive through but no cars.
One of the first times I drove, on a two lane highway out in the middle of nowhere, I drove about ten miles before I realised I was on the wrong side of the road. Wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds because you could see for miles in any direction.”
Or coming back from Asia to America – isn’t it shocking to be suddenly surrounded by so many fat people?
Amazing! Reverse Culture Shock seems to happen to everybody. When I visit my home country Germany, I’m truly scared by all the grim-looking people around me. Don’t try to talk to a stranger on the train or in a pub, you might run into troubles!
When I travel in Indonesia, Philippines or Thailand, of course sometimes I miss the organised and arranged nature of life you have in Europe or even in Singapore. Almost everything works smoothly and you don’t think much about all-day things which simply work and are there. Sometimes you can’t appreciate it enough, but after a while it dims down again, as you run into the elemental conflicts of highly developed countries – be it the fast pace of life, the packed day-2-day schedules and the lack of human interaction outside business and the appreciation for what you are as a human being.
It’s just all money, money, money and how to get it the fastest and the most of it in the shortest time. Competition and envy rule.
The friendliness and open minded views you develop when traveling abroad, smack me always directly in the face, when visiting my home country. But what to do? Strangeness can be uniqueness as well and might be that thing others find most remarkable. Hah!
So, at your next Homecoming, try to appreciate the different nature of your home town while acknowledging its deficiencies. Nothing is perfect, not even your island paradise at the end of the world.
It IS a matter of perspective, so it can only be healthy to change your perspective very often, thus having the chance to hover around your life like a helicopter to see, acknowledge and use the corners and points of improvement.
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