I’ve been spending a lot of time these past few days thinking about the past year, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done. And, inevitably, about going home. They say that reverse cultural shock can be much worse than the original thing, which I surely do not doubt. I feel very different from a year ago, though Minneapolis is still my home and I am still the same person I was when I left there. Being successful in another culture, which sometimes means just not going crazy, often means completely opening yourself up, letting go of so many of those norms and concrete thought patterns that fit so well into your life back home so that you can suck up all the nuances of life wherever you are. Once they’re all scrambled up, I am not sure it’s quite possible to reassemble all those little pieces so that you can just go back to being “normal” in your “normal” place.
I have also spent some time thinking about how to answer that most expected of questions, “So how was (insert country/ hemisphere)?” So, you have nothing to worry about, ask away. My canned answer will hopefully satisfy your canned question. Of course, feel free to put a little more thought into it, if you want. Better yet, buy me a cup of coffee, we can meet each other again for the first time.