30 May 2011
I’ve been in the States for about three weeks now and I must say it is certainly weird being back, especially during those first few days. For the most part nothing has changed, and yet at the same time it feels so different. To say the least, it has been interesting getting back into American culture and day to day life again.
Baby steps back into American life…
One of the first things I noticed upon my return was how big everything was in comparison to Europe. The houses, the roads, the grocery stores, even what you can purchase in the stores, were all so much larger than what I’d grown accustomed too. During the first week that I was home, I remember walking into Costco and being overwhelmed by its size. I never realized how compact and small everything was in Ireland, until I came back.
Getting used to the currency again turned out to be a little confusing with the coins. Now, it could have been jet lag that made the coins seem so foreign to me, but I was certainly not as quick to hand over correct change right away. I was also surprised by how strange it felt to hold American dollars in my hand again. It is amazing how comfortable you get with the feel of the money you use on a day-to-day basis.
Driving was one of my biggest worries when I came back because I hadn’t driven in over four months. It is silly, but I was nervous that I would get confused about which direction the traffic was coming because as a pedestrian in Ireland I had gotten used to people driving on the left side of the road. I even refused to drive for the first three days that I was home! Apparently I thought jet lag might influence my driving abilities too. When I finally did get behind the wheel, everything came back pretty quickly, but I still will find myself on occasion looking the wrong direction.
The pace and manner in which things are done is quite different as well. Though I noticed it while I was in Ireland, I don’t think it fazed me as much until I came back. In the States everything is done at a much faster speed, so having to get used to that again was different.
A new chapter…
Once I got over most of the culture shock, it hit me how much I missed Ireland. It has been wonderful to see my family and friends again, but there is a little part of me that wishes I was back in Galway and I think there always will be. Studying abroad was one of the best choices I could have made. It was an incredible experience. So as this chapter comes to an end, another one begins.