But Let Me Tell You More About Germany!

reverse1And I thought I was doing so well.

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 –

– Boredom
– 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.




  1. So what IS your favourite fizzy drink? 🙂
    Vanessa recently posted…Best Pizza in Berlin?My Profile

  2. This is so interesting! I’ve only ever lived in New York, so I can’t say I’ve ever felt reverse culture shock before. I can imagine it’s a much more bumpy road than regular culture shock since you’re coming “home” and will be there for the foreseeable future. I’m glad it hasn’t been too bad for you!
    Sara Strauss recently posted…My 25 Before 26 ListMy Profile

    • Charlotte says

      It may get worse from now on, I’m not sure. It’s been a while since I’ve lived in the UK so I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

      I would do anything to live in New York I am so jealous…

  3. I can now drink a Mezzo Mix when hungover and not think – URK. Yes the reverse culture thing is very real. I think the people see the “wrong” changes is a great insight. You might like this article…as we are all triangles in this together….http://naomihattaway.com/2013/09/i-am-a-triangle-and-other-thoughts-on-repatriation/
    Juliette recently posted…Cooking without Self-Raising FlourMy Profile

    • Charlotte says

      Ooh that’s a great link! It really does feel just like that.
      I can’t stand Mezzo Mix. It just…tastes so wrong!

  4. It hits you in many unexpected ways… I’ve been living outside of my passport country for longer than I ever spent living there, so I do feel like a tourist whenever I do go back to Germany. 😉
    Simone recently posted…English Phrases That Should NEVER Be Translated Into GermanMy Profile

  5. OMG, some of these signs are so true when I vacation in Germany (or rather go back home for a visit). Especially the boredom part, which is sad. The last time I was there, I stayed for 3 weeks and I really shouldn’t have been super-bored but I couldn’t happen to feel unfulfilled when wandering the streets of my old hometown. Anyhow, perhaps NY is just too extreme of a city to make anyone feel happy after a while spent here…
    Also, I feel that my relationship to my friends have changed and that it’s hard to connect to people who have stayed in the same 60-km-mile-radius in which they grew up whereas others have traveled more extensively.
    Laura4NYC recently posted…Fleet Week 2014: The Fun Has Returned!My Profile

    • Charlotte says

      Haha to be fair NYC is amazing and anywhere would be boring in comparison!
      Friendships do change when you live abroad. But I hope you have some really awesome ones who have stuck around.

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