I would have never thought that the hardest part of studying abroad is returning back home. Throughout this whole process it seemed like there was so much to prepare and get ready for this exciting journey. Then when it was actually happening it was an amazing unreal experience. I never really thought about what is going to happen when I returned home. I knew my family and friends all wanted to see me and hear about my time abroad. I am happy to tell and share my stories, and to finally see my loved ones after so long. I was able to put together a slide show of my pictures to show my family and plan on making a scape book.
The catch is that I feel like it is harder to adjust back to living in American then it was to adjust to living in Italy. I have reentry shock, and it is not because I am not used to seeing the big buildings and shopping centers, or the fast pace lifestyles, or the food. Those are part of being back home in America but I am the one who has changed. Slimbach points out that it is not the place that it is different he says “The thing that keeps you from automatically reverting to your former lifestyle is you”(205). After being home for a week I am starting to think he is right about this.
Reincorporation is certainly not easy, I am not used to the American food, everything in Italy was so fresh and healthy that this is one of the biggest problems I am dealing with. I miss the unique colorful peppers and the thick hot chocolate. I won’t have ice cream for a while because I fell in love with gelato. As I reintegrate home, I been having different types of food like Mexican and Chinese because that is something I have not had in a very long time so it is something to look forward to and is a distraction from the food I am missing from Italy. My family is doing a great job helping me readjust, my mom has even tried to make things I have been having in Italy so I do not miss it to much.
Slimbach talks about carting forward “gems” you have collected on this education abroad experience I will carry back the gem of “discover the joy of less”. I have realized I lived with the joy of less is in the kitchen. I had one sharp knife, one frying pan, and one baking pan. Meanwhile at home there are tons of different sizes and tools that are in the kitchen, I realized you really do not need all of those, I got by with much less and it still all tasted great.
“Old habits die hard, and you may find that they emerge with a vengeance” (226), I can see how this happens living abroad, I broke a lot of habits I had when living in America, I ate healthier, and I was more active. It has been a week at home and I can see how I it is easy to slip back into old habits, but I am not going to let that happen and I am trying to walk as much as I can and am starting to buy organic foods.
The quote “There’s no place like home” is true; I love my home and seeing my family. It’s a very special place and it is exactly where I want to be in time for the holidays. My home will always be where my family is and where I grew up. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make new homes in other places, they will never be like my real home. Although they will still all always be apart of whom I am.