One month after coming back to the UK after having lived in Germany and Japan for a total of 6 years, a reverse culture tick hit me.
In the garden of a pub, I was sat with a nice guy, trying to charm him as I tend to do with nice young men. We were trying to find how compatible we are by asking each other ridiculous questions. He asked me what my favourite fizzy drink was.
“Uhm, well I’m not sure of the drinks round here but in Germany there’s this cola…”
To which he mock rolled his eyes, and poked fun at me for starting most sentences with “in Germany…”
This has happened to me before, when I moved from Japan to Germany, I’d start most sentences with “in Japan…” or “on JET…” I just can’t help it! In the same way people talk about things they do often, I have to tell people about things I used to do in my former life – things I ate, places I went. It just bounces back off of that person as they have little knowledge of being an expat.
Whereas before it came from me missing my Japanese life very much, I think this time, while I still miss Germany of course, it comes more from the fact that I just don’t know how things are in the UK any more. All I know is German life, German products and German habits. Which is funny, really, when you think that I left Germany because I felt I didn’t know enough about the country, culture and language to be able to live happily there.
According to experts, the following things are all part of reverse culture shock –
– No one wants to listen
– You can’t explain
– Reverse homesickness
– Relationships have changed
– People see “wrong” changes
– People misunderstand you
– Feelings of alienation
– Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
– Loss/compartmentalisation of experience
But luckily, aside from the “no one wants to listen” (which isn’t even strictly true), I’ve not had the anything else yet. The town is different, and yet still the same. My best friends are still all here and are still awesome. I don’t think they see any bad changes in me, either.
I’m interested to see how I feel when I get a job and have to experience more of British society. It will be interesting to see if I get more signs of reverse culture shock.