Sunday, 6 April 2014
time changes everything
It has been a really rich and good time thus far for me here in Europe. I have lived in the USA for the best part of three years, on and off a little, and I still have moment of extreme culture shock. Strangely enough the culture shock has been most intense over the past couple of months. Every time it arises, it surprises me and scares me. Just one too many "Oh you are Australian" jokes and one too many, "Do you know the Queen?" comments I was right back there: experiencing culture shock.
Culture shock is something that only people who have experiences living abroad can understand. It allows me to meet a German or Chinese student, also living in the USA, and be able to feel more connected with them for a moment that I feel with any of my American friends that I have seen every day for the past couple of years.
When people ask me to explain culture shock, all I can say is that, "it is awkward". I can be in the middle of a stats class at University, or sipping a coffee at Whole Foods or cycling across downtown and all of a sudden I will feel like I do not belong here; in this moment, I am not from here and I do not fit in. It is a bizarre and very overwhelming feeling.
Returning to The Netherlands was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me. However, it also allowed me closure to my fears that I was wrong to move to the USA after just one year of University there. I was able to walk the streets of beautiful Middelburg and know that it is not my home. My heart is not there....it is in Boise.
Time changes everything - it changes friendships and it changes hearts and it changes character. I was able to pick up some Dutch friendships like nothing had changed during the two years that I was away, whilst others just simply were no long there. I am learning that time changes things: it allows healing to take place and it allows love to grow deeper and stronger. I am trying to not fear this, but to just accept that things change and that is ok.