I learned about culture shock long ago and far away, and I have experienced it several times, but with each experience, I learn something new about myself and my own reality.
I was excited to come home from my time abroad, mainly because I missed my dog, but I was also sad to leave what had come to be my life in Paris. I developed a rhythm, I knew the people on my street, and I could sniff out the better bakeries. Suddenly, however, I was thrown back into my life at home, and it was different.
The time change meant that I couldn't keep my eyes open past 10 P.M. and woke me up at 4 A.M.. I was grouchy and I missed my friends that were still in Paris.
I discovered that I had become a bread snob. My mom, the kind and caring woman that she is, had stopped at my favorite 'French' bakery in Des Moines and brought me home a baguette, and I found myself grimacing as the soft bread rolled across my tongue.
"Holy shit, I am one of those people," I thought to myself. My mom laughed at me across the table as she recognized that I was attempting to hide my disgust.
It is also strange not to be surrounded by the beautiful buildings of Paris. One of the first things I fell in love with about the city became mundane, but I find myself searching for the same smooth, white stone and wrought iron balconies.
It's also been difficult to transition back into using English. In Paris, I was navigating, reading, speaking and learning in French, so it's strange to go through each day without it. I have been trying to use it as much as I can, because I can already feel my skills slipping away.
I also miss being able to pick up and jet off to different countries, but stay tuned, because my next adventure is coming shortly.