Now that I have been back in the States for a couple of months now, I can officially say I am back to Northern Hemisphere time. I have sort of heard about reverse culture shock, but never thought it would actually occur on such a short time span. Revers culture shock is just like normal culture shock that you might get from entering another culture different from the one you are familiar with, only you get the shock from your original culture after being away for some time. I will admit that I never really had too bad of culture shock when living in New Zealand because most of the customs are the same or very similar to my own back at home, but when I returned home I feel like I had a mild version of culture shock re-entering the world I grew up in. It was a strange experience to get caught up on everything that I had missed from the 4 months prior. I had to relearn and be reminded of the norms of where I grew up for years. My family and friends had all grown and changed while I was gone, as did the vegetation and seasons.
One of the biggest difficulties I had and am just now getting over is the change in seasons. My body was shocked when I came back to the States. I had been preparing myself for winter and the cold days and nights that come with it. Although, the location in New Zealand I was residing in did not get very cold compared to the weather we are put through in Missouri every year, I could feel by body becoming more sluggish and stocking up on fat and foods. I didn't really realize the extent of it until I made it back to Missouri where I had to where half the clothing and was in a much much hotter environment. I could honestly tell that my body was adjusted to the winter and it had a very hard time adjusting to the summer body that I needed. I had to basically go on a mini diet to get my body kick started into summer mode, and started exercising more consistently. I am finally more comfortable with where I am. Usually I'd have months to adjust naturally and might not even notice, but this time it was within a couple of days change. Another factor that may have contributed to the struggle and confusion internally was the daylight hours, and weird-enough the position of the sun. As I'm sure you know, the days are far longer in the summer than in the winter, also the sun is positioned in the northern sky in the southern hemisphere, while the sun is positioned in the southern sky in the northern hemisphere. My extended trip to New Zealand taught me how to listen to my body and learn from it. These skills helped me pin-point the changes that occurred in my body with this huge movement.
It was also weird to come back to my family and friends with so much change that had happened. Of course, I didn't expect life for them to halt while I was gone, but 4 months is a lot to catch up on. It was hard to begin with and is still kind of a struggle in the aspect that nobody seems interested enough to sit and listen to everything you did and experienced for 4 months. I don't expect anyone to, but I feel like they aren't as interested in all of it as I am and it's hard to accept that. There will always be things that they down know I did or saw simply because there are not enough hour in the day to spill all the stories and there's no way to let them experience it like I did. I learned a whole lot while in New Zealand and I know it has helped me grow up and find who I am. Although I know who I am and who I want to continue to be, this experience has just complicated my life goals and my future. I am graduating college next May and am completely lost as to where to go from here. I know I can make it in another country or state and have proved it over and over, but do I really want to be so far away? This is a question that has been lingering in my mind for ages. Only time will tell I guess.
Its been quite the "Expedition", but its hardly over....