Reverse Culture Shock: Settling in Back Home

In many ways it feels like I never even left. I hit the ground running when I got home, spending the day unpacking, doing laundry, etc. I even went out that night to go see my friends. I think it was the most surreal that first night; fresh off the plane, mind still thinking in Portuguese phrases…being surrounded by the comfort of my friends and family had me feeling a little out-of-place. I kept wanting to say “com licensa” or “obrigada” or “por favor.” At one of our favorite bars, I was taken aback by the Lynyrd Skynyrd blaring over the sound system, the Budweiser neon signs, pool tables, overweight rednecks…just the overall atmosphere of being in the south again. It felt strange but comfortable. I had the next day completely free so I spent it with my family.

I went straight to work on Friday and Saturday, pulling double shifts to make up for being in Brazil for two months. WOW. My feet were KILLING ME. Normally I can work for days and not get sore, but I worked for two days and was literally close to tears with every step. My managers took pity on me and gave me this morning off to recover haha. Getting back to work was like I never left, sort of like coming home. I’m lucky because my coworkers are all great friends, really we’re like a family. All of us are either in school, are musicians or artists of some sort, and we all started there together about a year and a half ago so we’re all really close. I had missed them!! It was like I was only gone for a week, settling right back in making jokes with all of my work friends and cracking up at the little things. But the reverse culture shock really set in when I started to talk with some of the people who work there that speak Spanish. “Hola, Samantha,” they’d say. “Oi, tudo bom?” I’d reply, then say “No, no, no, sorry, scratch that! Hola, como esta?” Oops!ย Part of culture shock is thinking in whatever language you’ve become accustomed to.

I’m glad to be home, but so many things make me miss Brazil already. I bought some coffee there (enough to last me a long, long time) and have been drinking it every day. Every sip makes me feel a little bit sad. I feel like I had just gotten used to living in Brazil and then it was time for me to come home. I have been so busy since my arrival that it hasn’t really started to fully sink in yet. I start working an internship tomorrow so life really is super whirlwind right now. I’m excited though. ย The reverse culture shock has me feeling nostalgic and sad, but it really is just good to be home and happy.

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