When I search “reverse culture shock” google tells me it is a “common reaction to returning home from studying abroad. It is an emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment, similar to your initial adjustment to living abroad.”
I keep on toying with the word: readjustment
There is something about it that acknowledges a changing situation and all the tensions and difficulties that arise. But there is also something about the ‘re’ that hints at assimilating back to the person you were before your trip. That is definitely the easy option.
For me, that is the reverse culture shock. How do I reconcile my past self, with my India self? and my new back in New Zealand-but still trying to process India self? How strong are your values, beliefs systems, ideas of family, community, relationships, culture, schooling? Are you religious? Do you care if you are not? Why have you not paid as much attention to it before? Why did you miss home when you were gone but now you are yearning life in India so suddenly?
The questions are endless.
And so for me readjustment is a stage of questioning. How can I articulate and present my changing self without being *that* person who had a life-changing experience abroad? Why do I need to separate myself away from her?
The East, the West
I have a western worldview. If you live in the west you probably do too. India rips that worldview from you. Your “truth” becomes a singular perspective. One way out of countless to view the world. India exposes the errors and holes in that perspective. It all seems so obvious but you are only realising it now. India offers alternative worldviews, so parts make sense, others don’t. But there is an undeniable beauty in the appreciation for community, nature and spirituality.
You realise all the books, movies, music, academic sources you know all come from the West. You are ignorantly stuck in one perspective which you mistook for the universal truth. The arrogance of the West.
You realise now more than ever the importance of indigenous knowledge. There are so many similarities to East Asian knowledge and mātauranga Māori. But you realise you are only at the beginning of this new journey.
So in this period of readjustment I am questioning, learning, connecting and yearning for both India and a new adventure outside of the western world.