I’m currently on the road of my East Coast whirlwind tour and found a little time to update the progress of my reverse culture shock. I find that it didn’t take me long to ease right back into the modern life, though there are still moments that take me back to Cameroon. I returned straight to Saint Louis where my parents reside and spent the initial two weeks of my return there. In some ways, it feels as though I had never left. I visited my alma mater – Saint Louis University, where I had graduated just three weeks before I departed for Cameroon. I was driving around the ridiculous multilane highway of St. Louis, and so little has changed, yet my life is different in so many ways. It made me quite nostalgic being in all these same places after so long.
I had many more reverse culture shock moments in those initial two weeks, and the funnier ones were as follow:
- walked into the Saint Louis Galleria to shop and was incredibly overwhelmed by the multi-level luxury shopping completed with food court at the bottom. Found myself taking deep breaths and just walking around aimlessly. Sometimes, I have to leave a store because the choices were overwhelming.
- did laundry at my parents’ house and could not figure out how to use their washer and dryer that had so many buttons on it! Also used the vacuum cleaner and the entire time I was thinking how cool this thing was and how that would’ve been really useful in Cameroon, especially during the dry season.
- got my Macbook and iPod touch and was SO amazed at all the amazing things you could do with technology these days! Everything is almost literally right on your fingertip. whoa.
- went to my favorite dessert bar that I frequented in college – The Chocolate Bar – I was so happy to be there again and so excited to finally eat the delicious goodness that I’ve dreamt about for two years that I was speechless for quite a while when the food arrived.
- went to the wine tasting at the Saint Louis Zoo and was so amazed by the sheer concept of a zoo, and then having people drink wine while walking around in it.
- I found there is something really scary about being in a Wal-Mart. It makes me really nervous, and I can’t be in there for more than 10 minutes at a time. Must be the combination of the ridiculous amount of things and the kind of people that are around.
- I don’t even want to think about how much weight I’ve gained in just the short time that I’ve been home. Everything tastes delicious and American portions are HUGE. The consensus among my Peace Corps friends who’ve recently returned is that Americans as a whole are fat and flabby…
Some pictures from SLU. The school is so much nicer now. Lots of improvements over these past two years. I really took that place for granted. It’s not so bad after all.