If you’re reading this, I first want to say THANK YOU for bearing with me these last couple of months. I know I’ve been lagging a bit on the blog posts, but travelwithtarah is back and with plenty of material to last for months. I spent the month of April exploring Siem Reap, receiving my scuba certification in Koh Tao, getting soaked for Songkran in Chiang Mai, and falling in love with the Philippines…needless to say, I’ve got a lot to say and so much to tell you about! I really have no excuse for the month of May other than I’ve been trying to soak up every minute I have with my family before leaving the country again (can’t apologize for that one, sorry friends).
Which actually brings me to my next point:
I am moving to France for the summer! I am going to be working in a beautiful hotel and trying to learn as much as I can about the hospitality industry and, of course, the French culture. This is an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait for this adventure.
Before I leave though, I think it’s time to tell ya’ll just how WEIRD it is to be back in America! Don’t get me wrong, it’s been an amazing few weeks catching up with family and friends, but it has also shown me the definition of reverse culture shock. There are so many little things that keep happening where I get confused and have to remind myself, “oh yeah…you’re in America”.
Here are 25 of the weirdest things that have happened to me since being home:
- Driving on the right side of the road: Since I’ve spent the last seven months driving my motor bike on the left side of the road, it was a little confusing to start driving on the right side of the road again.
- Driving in general: Stay off the roads people. I’ve never been a very good driver to begin with so now that I’ve been out of the game for a while, I’d steer clear.
- I no longer have to throw toilet paper in the trash can: The plumbing in Southeast Asia isn’t great so you are not supposed to throw toilet paper in the toilet, but in the trashcan. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve thrown my toilet paper in the trashcan since I’ve gotten home…kinda gross now if you think about it.
- No more 7-Eleven’s on every corner: In Thailand, 7-Eleven’s are like Starbucks. There is literally one every 20 feet.
- Come to think of it, I can no longer go to 7-Eleven for my every need: Word on the street is 7-Eleven’s in America don’t sell phone plans, train tickets, or plane tickets. Who knew?
- No more $9 phone plans: Luckily, I’m still on my parent’s phone plan, but I’m positive it costs a whole lot more than $9 per month. Thanks mom!!
- KEURIG!!!!: Southeast Asia doesn’t believe in real coffee, only instant coffee. So imagine my delight to come home to a real cup of coffee in the matter of seconds via the beautiful thing that is a Keurig.
- Waiing is not a thing: In Thailand, you Wai people when saying hello, goodbye, thank you, or really anything. Evidently, it’s weird to Wai people in America.
- Meals no longer cost a maximum of $2: I paid $40 for brunch the other day…thought about crying. RIP my bank account
- Champagne is absolutely a thing: Finding Champagne in Thailand is like finding a $2 meal in America…it just doesn’t happen. Mimosas, it’s nice to have you back.
- Apparently new songs came out in the last seven months…who knew?: I’m cheap and decided not to pay for the upgraded version of Spotify and the free version doesn’t work in Thailand so I actually hadn’t heard a new song in 7 months. Turned on the radio on my car ride home from the airport and had absolutely no idea what was playing.
- My bed is no longer rock hard: I became accustomed to my rock hard bed in Thailand, so when I first laid down on my bed at home, it was like sleeping on a cloud.
- I no longer have to play charades to talk to anyone in my town: This one is pretty obvious, but it’s nice to be surrounded by fellow English speakers. Charades is fun though.
- I can no longer spend $45 to fly around the country: I once bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok for $45…I currently have to spend nearly $200 for a one way ticket almost anywhere in America.
- Actually, I can no longer spend $100 to fly to a different country: I kid you not, I bought a round trip ticket to Singapore and back to Thailand for $90. Not even going to tell you how much a round trip ticket to another country would be from America.
- I can no longer buy a flight at a sketchy hole in the wall store: There are so many little tourism stores throughout Thailand that you can walk in and buy any sort of transportation to pretty much anywhere in Southeast Asia. That’s definitely not a thing in America sadly.
- I no longer eat rice for every meal of the day: People in America don’t eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…what a concept!
- FULL ACCESS TO NETFLIX!!: Came home, turned on Netflix, and found a whole new world. So. Many. Shows.
- White people everywhere!!!: In my little town, it was always shocking to see another white person besides the few of us that were teaching and now they’re everywhere! Miss my little Thai friends tbh
- 5 lane freeways…scary: There were no more than two lanes in the little town that I lived in so driving with five lanes is honestly scary.
- No longer see a full family of five on one tiny motorbike: On any given day in Thailand, you will see a mom, dad, newborn baby, and two other little tikes on one little motorbike. Maybe a little unsafe?
- Actually, no more motorbikes at all: I could go days in America without seeing a person riding a motorbike, but couldn’t go two feet in Thailand without seeing 20.
- People apparently think 75 degrees is hot: My students would show up in beanies and sweaters in 75 degree weather which, in turn, made me start to believe it was cold, as well. My family now thinks I’m crazy when I walk outside in a sweatshirt in 75-degree weather.
- Breakfast!!!: Breakfast in Thailand consists of rice and fried chicken for the most part. Not complaining, but I am happy to have breakfast burritos and bagels back in my life.
- Last, but not definitely not least, my fam lives two feet from my door!!!: Going from having to schedule FaceTime calls due to a 15-hour time difference, it’s a little weird (and a lot great) to be living two feet from the people I love most and down the street from another (hi dad! not pictured below but love ya nonetheless)
While it’s taken me a little while to get used to things in America, there is a definite sense of comfort in being home. California will always be home, but I’m looking forward to getting back to traveling the world. Stay tuned for travel guides and travel tips from my previous travels and for what’s to come!
What are some things that have been different for you when returning to America or your home country? Did you find it a little weird at first? Let me know in the comments below!
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