DUN DUN DUN... Here is the last step on how I've been getting over reverse culture shock...
3. Create Something Pretty Out of the Pain
The irony of this blog post is that it is itself a tool in helping with my recovery of reverse culture shock. Reflection is a important step to getting through culture shock and reverse culture shock. While keeping a journal or blog might seem juvenile to some, it's interesting how all pride flies out of the window once you actually start writing your feelings. This can be a simple statement of "Today I feel..." and finishing that sentence with your thoughts on how it's been to be back.
Beyond writing, making a photo album of sorts has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It might seem painful to drudge up photos of your home abroad, but it actually does help. I've been using Shutterfly to compile a book of photos (and you can add text!) on my year abroad. It makes my memories into something tangible that I can share.
Both of these things have been an exercise in reflecting on my great experience and expressing my grief over saying goodbye to it.
I could go on with more steps, but I'll stop the series here. Following these steps have helped me with my sadness over London, although some days I really miss it. I joke sometimes that London was a break-up of sorts. I loved it so, but we weren't gonna get married, so it's time to move on!
The important thing to remember is that this is a PROCESS. Note the use of the word 'getting' in the title. I think there will always be that part of me that wants to hop on a plane and go live in London again. It's the part of me that thrives off of adventure and new experiences. What I want to focus that energy on now is having new experiences in my hometown. I don't have to hop on a plane every time I want adventure. I'll always be a traveler, of course; but this is not the only interesting thing about me. Time to work on the other aspects of Ashley.
Lastly, I'm planning a trip to London next summer for my graduation. I've heard this is the last step in closure: going back to the place you lived and saying a final farewell.
Until then, London. Now I'll be mentioning you less and less on the blog. As it should be, old chap!