Hey, y’all (I live in Texas so I can do that now)! So, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a personal post about what’s new in the life of Codi Elizabeth, and I know you’re all dying of anticipation — but have no fear, the wait is over. Last time I wrote I was bathing in the glory and nostalgia of being home with friends and family in Michigan while also dealing with some reverse culture shock (read about it here and here). Now that I’ve been back in the country for a few months, let’s recap:
When I first got back to the States I definitely dealt with reentry shock. Often returning home after being in another country for so long is harder than leaving and adjusting to the new country. Things that were once super familiar are now confusing: for instance, social norms.
- No longer do I need to bow to people or accept/give things with two hands or one hand on my forearm as a sign of respect, and I need to remember to tip when going out to a bar or restaurant.
- Relationships change. You’ve certainly changed, and when you come home maybe some people have gotten married or had kids while you were away, and that definitely changes the dynamic of a relationship. You’re excited to be back in their daily lives and hold their babies and play with the kids or spend more time with their significant other, but it’s just different and it takes time to get used to.
- You find that you can’t tune out other people’s conversation because you’re used to not understanding your host country’s language so it’s all white noise — but as soon as you sit at a coffee shop to do some reading and all you can focus on is the conversation happening next to you, it’s maddening (tip: bring headphones with you everywhere).
- All of your stories start with, “this one time in [insert foreign country here]” and after a while you get the feeling that people are possibly annoyed and think you’re showing off, but that’s all the stories that you have. It starts to feel lonely even though you are surrounded by everyone you love.
Main point: reverse culture shock still sucks and there’s not much you can do about it except experience it and move on.
After the shock had passed, Renee and I got a puppy in June. Having a dog is a non-negotiable thing for me when living in America, so we picked up our eight week old cockapoo, Gypsy, and started raising her at my moms’ house with two big Labradors. Originally we were going to wait to get a dog until we were settled into our new home, but with no job it was really the perfect time to raise, train and socialize a puppy. Although it wasn’t the smartest decision money-wise to get a dog (seriously, puppies are expensive after all is said and done) and there have been some frustrating times (puppies are just toddlers that run everywhere, get into everything and don’t care where they pee or poo), at five months old she is house-broken, socialized and adorable. We’re still working on the training. 😉
At the end of June I had a week of straight panic, and it was pretty much all due to money. Driving made me nervous because I was driving my moms’ cars and what if I got in an accident that was my fault and I couldn’t afford to fix it and their insurance sky-rocketed? And what if the puppy caught a deadly virus or broke her leg and I couldn’t afford to get her better? How was I going to move to Texas or buy a car or make car payments or get car insurance all while paying rent and putting money towards my student loans plus all the other bills? What if I couldn’t find a job? What if I found a job and I hated it, but it paid enough money so I could pay my bills but I was miserable? And then surely my relationship would fall apart because I wouldn’t have money to do anything or support myself and I’d always be working and hate my job and it would all be miserable. And then I’d have to move back home and live with my mothers. Forever.
You see how quickly that spirals out of control? Not the best week.
But alas, everything worked out like we all knew it would. At the end of July I got an awesome Honda Fit and loaded it up in the middle of August and headed to Houston, TX with Gypsy.
Renee and I have been staying at her sister and brother-in-law’s house, which has been really generous of them, but we are thrilled to be moving into our own apartment in a few days after almost eight months of no place to call our own. I got a job at Starbucks (FREE COFFEE!!!!!!!), which I definitely love, and I’m also doing freelance writing part-time (starting to make writing my career! Baby steps!).
Things are really starting to fall into place and it’s super exciting. When situations get overwhelming or frustrating and we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, our mantra has been: patience. Renee and I have to remind ourselves of that daily, but once we get into our apartment it’s like we’ve made it after eight months of traveling, adventure and overall craziness.
So, how has life been for all of you out there? I’ve been feeling quite busy and out of touch, but I haven’t forgotten about all of you awesome people!