From the time I have heard the term culture shock I have thought it not a really good description of what a person feels over cultural differences. This is even truer when I think of reverse culture shock – or what you feel when you return to your own culture.
So far this trip back has had some pleasant things I haven’t expected. One is that so far, and I’m on day 4 in-country, I really haven’t experienced jet-lag. The other was a successful quick trip to Wal-Mart for only a couple of items. (I wasn’t that successful yesterday when I went in for a look and got stuck in there for almost 3 hours.)
Usually I think of reverse culture shock as a kind of cultural disappointment or sadness, so it’s a nice surprise when it’s more on the happy side. Don’t get me wrong. I still think it’s so odd to drive around without traffic jams. In Nairobi I live only a few kilometers (shorter than miles) from my work, but it’s always a slow-go and a challenge to find a back way that is flowing more freely. It’s weird not to see lots of people walking along the roads. The aisles of breakfast cereal are still much longer than those in Nairobi. But all that isn’t really ‘shocking’. It’s just different.
Maybe Nairobi is just becoming more and more cosmopolitan and there is almost anything available. Maybe I’m here too often. Both have things that are strange to me and hard to sometimes understand or I don’t really like. But to be sure, both are home.