The worst thing about this reverse culture shock thing, I think, is how it can hit out of nowhere. One day (like, oh, yesterday), I’ll be fine and happy—missing Australia, but not badly; sort of the way I miss fresh fruit during winter—think that the worst of the readjustment is over. But then the next day, I show one of my friends from high school my New Zealand photos, and suddenly I feel claustrophobic about my life again.
And it’s the claustrophobia that really makes the reverse culture shock an actual shock, not just an unpleasant taste in the back of my mouth. But this sense that my skin is suddenly two sizes too small, that my life has shrunk and I too will shrink if I remain in it for very long, that’s much harder to keep at bay.
It’s damned hard to fight that sort of feeling, knowing I’m fighting my old life. Especially my old, happy life. It hadn’t been perfect, but I’d liked it. And now, to look at it and find parts that are alien to me is just…. It makes giving into that