So This Is What It Feels Like: Reverse Culture Shock

There’s culture shock, and then there’s reverse culture shock.

On my recent two-week visit to Texas, I had a lot of the latter. Like when:

  • I was nearly brought to tears seeing all the enormous strip malls along I-35 between San Antonio and Austin. What gives, Texans? Why do you love those damn things so much?
  • I couldn’t get over how “sleepy” Corpus Christi felt. Also, poor.
  • I kept thinking Texas women wear too much make-up. Yet couldn’t put the mascara down.
  • I realized what a Mexican food snob I’ve become. And how Texans think Tex-Mex is Mexican food. Sigh.
  • My ears perked up whenever I heard Spanish, which is much easier to understand when spoken with a Tex-Mex drawl.
  • I found excuses to browse for random crap at Walgreen’s. And H-E-B PLUS! (Drug store chains here are so disappointing, and the grocery stores aren’t much better. But really, no grocery store compares to H-E-B, I’ve decided. I love you, H-E-B. There’s a reason you’re a monopoly in Texas.)
  • I finally realized how gorgeous Austin’s Barton Springs/”Lady Bird” Lake is. How many cities have something like that? (Can someone please stop all the people from moving to Austin, though? Except for my friends and family, of course.)
  • I found driving in the U.S. stupidly easy.

I’ve been back two days, and I feel far more adjusted this time around then after I returned in December. Perhaps I’ve:

  • Gotten really used to living la vida loca. And having a cleaning lady twice a week. Bless her heart.
  • Arrived at a spectacular time. It’s 82 degrees, the trees are still covered with bright purple jacaranda blooms and a new giant breed of yellow butterflies are fluttering about.
  • learned more Spanish than I realized.

It also helps that:

  • I enjoy the quirky moments, and get less freaked out by them. (Ex: I read an article today entitled “Tamales de Iguana.” Yep, bet you never ate iguana tamales before. And never will I.)
  • I am more aware that this whole working-at-home-all-day-thang can be lonely. But that Mexico City is a great place to give it a go. And I have the blessed internets.
  • I am going to Acapulco soon. It’s four hours away. Four hours away.
  • I have a bunch of Project Runway episodes on DVD. Muchos gracias, Bob!
  • I came home to a disheveled, lonely and disoriented-without-me esposa y mascota.

One thought on “So This Is What It Feels Like: Reverse Culture Shock

  1. junemoon says:

    hola Joy ~ I just wanted to take a minute and tell you how much I enjoy your blog as I haven’t left a comment for a long while (but have visited regularly). I appreciate your topics and the humor you bring to even thorny issues like social class and culture shock and reverse culture shock.

    Moving to a Big City from a Small City, even within the U.S., has proven to be culture shock-filled for me. For many years, I have considered living in Mexico for an extended period of time, and reading of your adventures and daily life is good food for thought and entertaining to boot.

    Thanks for a great blog! junemoon

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