Reverse Culture Shock: Energy Drain

I’ve been back for about three weeks and shock is just about setting in. It’s as total as it is indescribable. I know it only by its symptoms. I am exhausted all the time. The actual tasks I need to do are easy: going to the mechanic, calling a friend, driving to the bank. It’s ironic because both the bureaucracy and the language is easier for me to navigate than it was in Buenos Aires.

The feeling is like having ice skated or roller bladed for a few hours, on taking the skates off you feel like you’re walking on air. You feel like you can run faster than a cheetah, nothing can stop you, your shoes have never been more comfy. But then you don’t know why you’ve walked just a few blocks and you’re out of breath already. The answer? Reverse culture shock.

Things seem like they should be easy, after all, I’ve done all this stuff and I didn’t even speak the language, I didn’t know anyone, I had fewer resources. I have none of these problems here in the States. It is not the difficulty of the tasks that is overwhelming, it’s that neurons in my brain are firing after having gone years without being accessed. My body is reconstructing relationships that it hasn’t considered in years.

3 replies
  1. Trickster
    Trickster says:

    Are you and Annette amazed at how nobody seems to care what size bill you pay with?!

    I’m here in Toronto doing my best to get rid of all my damn change (though my instinct is still to guard it when I pay for things).


  2. jade
    jade says:

    I have definitely experienced this more than once. After coming back from living in Paris and even worse coming back from BA. And yes I totally agree everyone has change and it is amazing. I was at blockbuster the other day and there was a sign cash only and no change- I thought whoahhh where am I? Took me back to BA!!

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