Reverse Culture Shock: Germany->U.S.A

Returning to the US and experiencing reverse culture shock was an indescribable feeling of relief, disgust, awe, and positivity. I was in a daze for at least a month, just looking at everything as if I were seeing it for the first time. Everything here is so fucking shiny and colorful.

Upon my arrival home, the 5th season of HBO’s GIRLS was airing. This scene of Shoshanna returning home after her move to Japan really hit home for me (for obvious reasons).

Things I became aware of upon my return:

  1. Everyone shits on German for being so harsh…but English is a seriously gross language. It was crazy to suddenly be able to understand every commercial, every food label, every sign and every conversation. I felt bombarded by all the words around me.
  2. I miss walking everywhere. Driving has been fun but there is really nothing to discover when driving. The only place you go, is where your car takes you. When walking around Berlin, each turn was a new street and a new place I had never been before.
  3. Grocery stores here are insane. Free bathrooms, grocers who bag your shit, an entire aisle full of cereal bars? What are we fucking royalty?
  4. I totally forgot about traffic! Rush hour when you are riding the Ubahn just means a crammed ride with no chance for a seat. Here it means you will be stuck in your car for hours.
  5. Being back on a phone plan allowing me to use my cell at any time I want! What!? You mean, I can just type in where I am going into imaps and be on my way? I can listen to Spotify while walking? I can scroll through Instagram while in line? What a plush life we live.
  6. All we do in this culture is CONSUME! We shop so much here and feel the need to have every corner of our homes filled with stuff.
  7. Also, we spend most of our time either talking about ourselves or gossiping about others and I am not about that life anymore. (except my blog where I really seem to be talking about myself a lot.)
  8. Having a bed and room all to myself is an indescribable feeling.
  9. We can all get by with so much less…

Really how I would sum up being back in the US is that everything is SO EASY! In Berlin, a simple errand could take an entire day due to getting lost, not knowing where to go to find something, needing to ask numerous people for help in broken German. Here, I drive there, answer all questions in english and am on my way. We live a plush life friends.

Rachael Jelnicky

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