Did you miss me?
Anyway, I’m back in Santiago after two lovely weeks at home with my family. I posted about reverse culture shock last year too, but I’m gonna post about it again this year because it was completely different and unexpected. I kind of thought I was over being surprised at the differences, but apparently there were some things that I forgot about life in the U.S.
1. Central Heating. Okay, so I know that it exists as a norm in the US and I’m so thankful for that considering my first few days in Vermont were downright frigid. However, I forgot how much NOISE it makes. As soon as the thermostat kicks in it’s like an engine revving up. I mean, I lived 18 plus some years of my life listening to this noise, but I had completely forgotten about it. At my parents’ house it was especially loud and seemed to rattle the registers. When it turned on the first night, I sat up in bed and thought: “Earthquake!”…then realized where I was.
2. Options. There are like 500000 brands of everything and so many varieties! I got very overwhelmed in the cracker aisle in Hannafords. More than just Galletas de Agua and Galletas de Soda. Thank God for that. Also, the variety of cheeses! And no Mantecoso as far as the eye could see. Double Thank God for that.
3. Driving. This isn’t really culture shock, I just don’t do it here in Chile. My license was a casualty to this unfortunate incident, so I really haven’t driven more than quick jaunts since December 2008. However, I decided to bite the bullet and go to the DMV while I was home and can now legally drive in the US. The good news, it’s like riding a bike. You don’t really forget how to drive. I think mostly because my parents moved to the boonies, a half an hour drive from a major grocery store, it seemed like it took forever to get anywhere. (That being said, they live in a beautiful spot right by a major lake and it was very peaceful and the first night my ears were ringing it was so quiet [besides aforementioned heat turning on]).
4. Getting the check RIGHT when you finish dinner at a restaurant. Although sometimes I think it’s a pain to have to flag down the waiter here in Chile, I find plonking the slip on the table two seconds after I’ve taken my last bite of food to be a bit jarring. Give me a minute to digest, please!
And in true Chile fashion, I was welcomed back to my adopted country with a one hour wait to get through Immigration and had all my bags checked by Customs. Oh joy.