Re-entry for me was when life became like a rope that was forever being pulled from my hand–always moving and impossible to grasp. In the past five years since leaving China and returning to the states, I got engaged and married, had two babies, lost a father-in-law, changed jobs twice and moved across the country. It’s been eleven months since our cross-country move and the rope is still in motion, though I’m beginning to hold it long enough to feel the texture of the coils in my hands. And it doesn’t burn as much as it once did.
This series will be on the topic of re-entry, or reverse culture shock, but I hope you will find some solace, strength and hope for whatever transition you are experiencing. Re-entry specifically describes the experience of living abroad or in another culture for any amount of time and then assimilating back into your “passport culture.”
Re-entry is about being changed by your experience abroad, yet being expected to live the life you once lived in a culture in which you no longer fit.
Disorienting and confusing, it is no wonder re-entry is analogous to a spaceship returning to earth from space.
I first experienced reverse culture shock in high school after returning from an amazing summer camp experience in the hills of North Carolina. I had no idea what was wrong with me. My other experiences of it spanned 10 years and were after spending 6 months in Uganda, 5 weeks in Tajikistan and 5 years in China. This series will mainly be about my return from China, including past journal entries about the themes, lessons and resources that have impacted me as I have attempted to process this experience.
I wrote this series in response to a challenge to write during the entire month of October, called Write 31 Days. The table of contents is below. Please visit multiple posts and leave comments–I’d love to hear about your experience and get to know you. So glad you stopped by!
Day 1: Introduction