A Travellerspoint blog

Culture Surrealism


We have been back in the USA for a few days now. Things are very different, and I now understand what reverse culture shock means. It's not so bad, though. Rather than comparing the two cultures and declaring aspects about them good or bad, it is more fun to just notice the differences.
Personal space has returned. During our last couple weeks in Cartagena, I found myself thinking that wherever we went, someone else decided they wanted to be there too. In that exact spot. There is a song title in there somewhere. Someone else being vendors, self-declared massage therapists, cab drivers, folks asking about the dogs, etc. Now, in Jacksonville Beach, nobody is trying to sell us sunglasses, ceviche, or cervezas. We feel somewhat ignored, but the peace and space are nice.
And the drivers! They are so neat and orderly here. Nobody honks. Everyone stops at stop signs and waits for pedestrians. It is almost as if they all are on Valium. Our well-honed Latino finger-waves will get rusty with no offenders on whom to practice.
I am still alarmed to hear the English language being spoken, and at times it sounds abrasive (rednecks). However, it is nice to ask someone for directions and understand everything they say. I still catch myself saying "buenos" to folks on our morning walks. Oops.
I was stunned during our first trip to a US supermarket. So many choices. Are 15 different gradients and variants of olive oil really necessary? And potato salad at the grocery store deli: Southern style, home style, home style red . . . Seriously? Of course, this is the same person who bitched when she couldn't find plain yogurt (no sugar, fruit, aspartame, etc.), preferably Greek-style, at the grocery stores in Colombia.
We are staying in Jacksonville Beach for a couple weeks while we wait for our Jeep to arrive in Miami. Douglas owns a condo here, and it is conveniently empty for this time period. It gives us a chance to ease back into US living and to get the place ready for new tenants. Life here is remarkably easy after six months on the road. No more packing and unpacking, figuring out where we are going to stay each night, and ohhh . . . The washer and dryer! I am doing laundry with wild abandon. No more rinsing stuff out in the sink and squeezing one more workout out of that pair of socks.
All in all, this is becoming an easy transition.
I will keep you posted on our next adventure, probably in a new blog format.
Thanks for reading!

Posted by ceastburn 14:07 Archived in USA

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Yes, it is strange being back...like what was normal looks all different...I remember noticing how wide the streets were in Iowa, and how many parking spots there were...all over the place! And of course, the language being totally familiar, all the nuances understood immediately, it was nice. Enjoy your re-entry!

by jeastburn

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