Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Being back

Several times I have sat down to write something only to find myself at a loss for what to say. I have experienced so many emotions since being back but I can not figure out how to put them into words. Someday I hope to be able to coherently express what it was like leaving my West African home and arriving in my American home, but for now I'll just share a few things. 

 Reverse culture shock is real. And it stinks. It just might be harder than the initial culture shock of a foreign country because at some level you expect the foreign country to be foreign, but you don't expect to feel so out of place in the culture you grew up in. I have experienced it before so I thought I would be more prepared, but I wasn't. 

I hadn't been gone long enough to really forget about anything in America, but there were definitely some things I was out of practice with.
I found myself trying to speak French to every white person. Awkward. 
Menu's and signs in English freaked me out. 
I had to force myself to drink tap water. 
I still find myself sifting through flour and sugar for bugs. 

The first time I went to a store I made my sister checkout for me. I just couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do. Do I greet the checker? Ask about his family? No, probably not. But then do we not speak at all? Are we allowed to make eye contact? It was so awkward. 

Its hard to remember that no one will understand me when I speak Wolof. 
Waaw.  Jerejeff waye. Jox ma. Ban heure. Ma xol. Jamm rekk. 
I say these things without thinking. People look at me strange. I never realized how 
weird it would be to only speak one language. 

But every day is better. Every day I adjust a little more. 

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