Reverse culture shock

Before we left for Tokyo, Boz's company arranged for a relocation consultant to meet with us over the course of two days. Boz and whatever-her-name-was (hereafter known as Sally) spent a majority of the time reviewing the challenges commonly faced by expats before and during a relocation...and finished with a brief discussion on post-relocation reverse culture shock.  I spent all of the time worrying about leaving Pancho and getting annoyed at Boz for suggesting we eat Subway for lunch. (I genuinely don't enjoy Subway but there is also a chance I was projecting some anxiety with that one. Who's to say...)

The very first weekend in Tokyo, I (unknowingly, since I ignored Sally) embodied every prediction. The first day was declared 'the best of my entire life!!' and the next morning, I greeted Boz with whimpering and the announcement that a year away from Pancho and Texas was absolutely going to destroy me.

This is neither here nor there, but Boz handled that setback by buying us tickets to see Gravity...hereafter known as the worst movie ever made, Goonies notwithstanding (but let's be real, Goonies shouldn't even be classified as a movie).

Anyway...if y'all kept up with RV throughout 2014, you know what happened after that first weekend: many, many wonderful days with a sprinkling of challenges. This is (so I hear) exactly what we should have expected.

What we were NOT prepared for began on January 5th when we finally rolled into Austin. We both optimistically expected me to be so overwhelmed by my Pancho reunion...my greenbelt time...Town Lake...kombucha!!...etc., that I would skip the reverse culture shock stage of this experience. Yeah...well...

While returning from a run a couple weeks ago, I bumped into our Scottish neighbor, Steve, outside our condo. He asked how the resettling process was going and I gave my customary, completely-canned, disingenuous response, "It was a wonderful year, but we're so happy to be home. It's just great to be back in Texas." Steve shrugged and replied, "I spent two years in Shanghai and was miserable when I returned. Everything just felt dull. I felt like, after two years of intense excitement, I had returned to the 'same old'." I stopped, stunned, and told Steve, "I take back everything I just said. I'm not really happy and I miss Tokyo and I totally, completely understand what you're saying. I am so relieved to hear you say that." Steve is kind of dry so he just gave me a completely-undecipherable look and continued on his way. (I don't know how people bond in Scotland.)

I relayed this story to Boz later that evening and we agreed to take our first month back in Austin 'slowly'. We never really elaborated on that idea so I just shored myself up to face a difficult, albeit slow, month. Over the following weeks, Boz quickly adapted to his new job assignment: meeting with customers, working completely ridiculous hours and totally thriving on the challenge (he's actually somewhere in Europe as I type this). He is fully settled back into Texas and 100% adjusted.

As for me?  I've joined a work-share program on an organic farm, completed my certification to coach track for the Special Olympics, helped a friend begin establishing her non-profit, and submitted writing samples to various local publications (more on that later). However, I've also found time to treat Boz to a few episodes of adjustment-related, stress-induced meltdowns, including a particularly memorable one that unfolded inside my new Honda Fit (more on her later, too). With copious crocodile tears, I lamented the fact that Boz doesn't really know much about the life of Gandhi.

"But babe!!! (sobbing) What does this mean for humanity?? (more sobbing) We're all so insignificant if someone as intelligent as you doesn't even really care about GANDHI!!!"

If you're currently trying to connect the dots between Gandhi and Tokyo, I can assure you, it is fruitless. I have absolutely mastered the art of misdirecting my emotions and mere mortals are generally incapable of decoding the melodramatic wasteland of a Vegetable meltdown, Fortunately, the Honda episode is now a couple weeks old and we appear to be nearing the finish line of the adjustment process. I am starting to feel very enthusiastic about all my plans (and I am fully committed to educating my husband on the life stories of Indian activists in my spare time).

Adventure was delivered on a silver platter last year. I was guaranteed excitement every time I left the T-Cube. Now we're back in Austin...we're home...and adventure will need to be pursued a bit more deliberately.

But as I wrestled baby piglets into a fresh paddock this weekend, I started to feel pretty confident that B and I are on the right path.

Please stay tuned for much-more-regular updates from the Veggies.

We are happy to be home. It is great to be back in Texas.

(And I mean it this time.)



...working with piggies