“This phase of blissful indulgence tends to last about a week, if that long. The euphoria then begins to wear off and home begins to feel so comfortable, so convenient, so clean, and oh so…boring” (Slimbach, p.207). For me, blissful indulgence lasted two days. When I first arrived home I immediately went to see all of my friends and was kind of just thrown into the typical American culture. I felt as though that I was in a native culture that I have not seen in quite some time. But just like I adjusted to the Irish culture, I would adjust back into the American culture, with some Irish twists.
One of the largest differences between Ireland and America is how diverse America is. While I was in Ireland the majority of the population was Caucasian, but that was not true about America. Everywhere I looked there was a different race or ethnicity. It reminded me of why I love America and how far we have come in such a short period of time. It seems as though America is 20 years ahead of Ireland in every way, and to be honest I enjoyed living 20 years in the past for the past five months.
Some challenges I have faced during my reincorporation phase that past couple of weeks include not being of legal age, driving on the right side of the road and driving everywhere. Not being of legal age does not mean that I miss drinking and going to pubs (which I do) but means that I am not necessarily allowed in certain places and kind of just went back to being a teenager vs being an adult. The other big challenge for me was remembering to drive on the right side of the road. Although I never drove in Ireland I did sit in my fair share of taxis and buses in which they drove on the left side of the road and turning right was not just a stop sign at a set of lights.
During my time back in America I have realized that I have a terrible habit of putting things off to the side to finish later, which was something I carefully avoided in Ireland. Now that I have been home I have seemed to resort back to this old, bad habit and have taken it upon myself to act like I did in Ireland and get everything done when it is first assigned so I have free time later when something else comes up, possibly more important. The reason I did this in Ireland is because everyday was a new adventure and I could not wait to learn more about my host culture. Maybe I should begin to take more of an interest in America’s culture and explore this beautiful country just like I did with Ireland.
The quote that represents myself best right now is, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” (Ernest Hemingway). This quote is where I am at currently with my study abroad experience. Now that I have reached the end of my current journey I now realize that the journey only ends when I stop exploring. At this moment in my life the journey has unfortunately come to a halt but, The journey will never end until I stop learning about my culture and other cultures around me. The past four months have taught me more about myself then the past 10 years in America. I am so grateful that I was able to embark on this journey and hope to appreciate the small things in life a little more.