TL;DR – I’m still in America / Reverse culture shock is a thing / I’m happier now
One minute you’re eating mooncakes in Beijing and the next you’ve been living in Los Angeles for four months. Where did that time go? More strange than the speed with which time has gone by is the feeling that my year in Asia didn’t actually happen. It still feels more like a movie that I watched than ~365 days of my life.
A few weeks ago, my sister asked me when I was going to write another blog post. I cringed. Why would I write another blog post when I’m basically just exercising my license to chill these days? I’m not looking for crocodile blood in Bangkok. I’m not singing karaoke with strangers in Tokyo. I’m working a few days a week at an LA Thai restaurant and churning out a few articles a month. Who cares?
That self-pitying reaction reminded me of how hard it was to come back to California. Reverse culture shock turned out to be a very real thing, and I was hit with the classic symptoms of sadness, confusion, frustration, and it sucked. I slept a lot, ate my feelings – I saw how cliché it was but couldn’t stop. The life narrative I was following for a year didn’t apply to life in America, I lost my identity. I even started eating meat again (after 7 years of chicken/beef/pork abstinence) in a half-hearted, half-panicked swoop. All dramatic given the circumstances: I had a stunning home to live in rent-free in Los Angeles (thanks Crystal and Michael!), I was back with my family, I had a BEAUTIFUL new baby niece. Things were going to be ok/things had been ok!
It took a while, but I think I’ve made it past the funk. The first chunk of 2016 has been incredibly fun. I went with friends to Vegas for a low-budget New Year’s Eve, then made it to Boston for a four day walkabout. I’m ramping up my writing again and remembering how good it feels to be productive.
Even though I’ve been happy lately, I still miss Asia. I miss seeing new parts of the world. I have two months until my sister’s wedding, which was originally my deadline to leave again. Problem: I haven’t saved any money although my intention for the past four months was to save money. If I want to make a big move happen soon, I need to stop wasting money on expensive fresh-pressed juices and Uber rides. If I can make it through blistering winter nights in Boston, I can make more good things happen in sunny Los Angeles.