Friday, June 1, 2012

The Readjustment Process

I will have been back in America for two weeks tomorrow, which, really, has been a whole jumble of exciting and strange and nice and sad and all sorts of things. 

When I got off the plane (gosh I hate planes, especially planes I am stuck on for seven and a half hours) and saw my parents waiting for me at the gate, I was thrilled to pieces. And I'm not just saying that because I know my mom reads this blog. (Hi Mom.) I was really happy to see them. At that point, I'd been staying in hostels for two weeks by myself and I was tired of either being alone or being forced to talk to strangers all the time - something I am getting better at, but certainly don't like very much. I was so excited to see my family again and get to talk to people I knew rather than people I'd just met. I of course tacklehugged both my cat when I got home and my sister when she got back from the high school band trip the next day. I was very, very glad to sleep in my own bed, with more than one pillow (oh hostels, you make me appreciate pillows so much), and with no strangers sharing the room and loudly entering and exiting at obscene hours of the morning. 

Walking back into my house was kind of surreal. I couldn't really believe that I was home - it had been five months, after all. It didn't help that there were a lot of things that were different; the kitchen is blue now, instead of the yellow it's been for as long as I can remember, and there's a new counter-top, for instance. I felt a little bit like I was floating around my house, halfway outside of my own head (which sounds a lot crazier than I mean it to sound, but that's the best way I can think to describe it). I half expected that I would wake up the next morning and be back in London, but when I didn't, I wasn't disappointed. I was glad to be home. I was glad to sleep in my own bed and have my cat and my family, to eat food that my dad made rather than £3+ triangle sandwiches, to not have to talk to strangers anymore. 

That first week back was great. I attempted to sleep a lot, although jet lag really set some odd hours for me. I lounged about. I didn't have to eat dinner by myself anymore. I started my new internship at a literary agency in New York City, which basically amounts to the best job ever: everyone in the office is so nice, and I read ALL DAY LONG. It's awesome. (I'll be putting together a list of some query do's and don'ts in future, because I am reading your queries now, haha! *maniacal laughter* ... *cough*) 

And then, last Saturday, it hit me. I'd sort of vaguely missed London before, chatting about things I'd done with people, but I was still caught up in how nice and comfortable it was to be home. Last Saturday, though, I was engrossed in a really amazing book (The Night Circus. Read it. Now.), parts of which take place in London, and I was at a family gathering, recounting some of my abroad adventures. I realized that it had been exactly one week since I'd left London, and all of a sudden I missed it so much. It was as though I'd thought, initially, that coming home was like being on vacation for a week, in typical college student fashion where I don't do much of anything and enjoy home cooked food and my mom doing my laundry. But then the week was up, I was still in New Jersey and I wouldn't be going back to London in the foreseeable future. I dreamt that I was back in London before I woke up the next morning, and this time, I was sad when I woke up and it wasn't real. 

Now, I'm not horribly depressed, don't get me wrong. I am honestly enjoying being home - I like my family a lot. I like my internship a lot (my mom was joking with me yesterday that I'm supposed to come home after commuting to work in the city and be all grumpy and tired and unhappy about life, but I always come home really happy, because my job is just that awesome). I'm finally catching up to my friends from high school. 

But I miss London. I am probably stating the obvious, but Manhattan is incredibly different. Every time I walk down the street, either in my tiny suburban town or in New York, I'm reminded of how different, how new, everything here is. The sense of history is gone. There isn't anything comparable to the beautiful Kensington row houses. If I went into a cafe and ordered a cup of tea, I'd get a cup, rather than my own teapot. All the French and Italians are still in London, not in New York. I can't hop on the tube after a five-minute walk from my doorstep. There are no Caffe Neros or Victoria and Albert Museums. The flat in Nevern Place is very, very far away, and I don't get to see my flatmates much at all. 

I miss London. I miss the atmosphere. I miss the feeling that I belonged in that city. I've lived near New York all my life, so I do get a similar tourist/not tourist feeling, but New York does not feel like it's mine the way London did. 

So far, though, being back in America isn't bad (other than the fact that going from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 is really unpleasant). I learned a lot in London - a lot about myself, about being a confident human being, about talking to strangers, about trying new things, on and on and on. I was afraid that that sense of confidence would relapse as soon as I got home, and I'd go back to being even more obviously painfully shy, the way I was pre-London. So far, though, I don't think it has. I've successfully managed to find myself a part-time job waitressing. I'm not completely hopeless when it comes to talking to my new coworkers. So, I think it's all working out for the best. I'll just have to figure out when I can get back to my second home sometime fairly soon (although not too soon, because have I mentioned how much I hate planes?). 

Now. That cat I tacklehugged when I got home is very desirous of my attention. Until next time, fair blog readers! 


Totally unrelated to just about everything, but if you haven't seen Neil Gaiman's commencement speech for the University of Arts in Philadelphia, you should go watch it right now. He tells you all sorts of important things regarding the making of art, in that wise and witty way that only Neil Gaiman can.


  1. Reverse culture shock is cruddy! Hang in there. Writing about it helps. :) And, welcome back!

  2. I'm sorry to hear settling back into the US hasn't been a breeze, but trust me when I say it'll get easier! And how great is it being back in your own bed! Ahhh. Nothing like it. Plus, if you earn enough moolah from your job, helloooo another trip to England!

    Keep your chin up mate! You'll be back with the poms before you know it :D

    1. I knew it wasn't going to be a breeze. Actually, I was expecting it to be worse than it's been! It really is nice to be home, with my bed and my cat and my family and my friends. I just also really miss my second home. :)

      And hehe... I'm hoping to make enough money to make up for what I spent abroad... the pound is brutal compared to the dollar. D: But yes! Someday, I shall be back. :)