Reverse Culture Shock

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Italian fruit market. Need I say more?
This post is late, late late, but I hope you still enjoy it.

Since the day I arrived back to the U.S. I've found myself struggling ever-so-slightly to adjust to the lifestyle of the good 'ole USA.
For example, one day before the 4th of July I was at HEB. For those of you not from Texas, HEB is a fantastic grocery store with tons of yum stuff.
On this particular HEB adventure, I was picking out avocados.
No big deal.
Until someone walked up behind me. In a panic I looked at my hands, then dropped the avocado back in the bin and leapt over to the place where the plastic gloves, worn by vegetable-perusing Italians, would have been located only to realize seconds later that I was in fact in Texas.
Prior to my return home, picking up veggies and fruit from the local Conad grocery store in Florence, Italy had become a biweekly routine for me. After my experiences of getting yelled at in Italian and then receiving a harsh explanation in English about where and why I have to always, always wear gloves while purchasing fruit, I now hold a special fear in my heart akin to the fear my four-year-old self had of being caught by my friend's mother not wearing socks while playing in the McDonalad's PlayPlace.
Dry-erase chalkboard art.
Besides embarrassing myself in the grocery store, I have also found myself yearning for a daily itinerary like I had in Italy. I loved knowing when there would be free time to wander throughout the city and when I would be held captive by an umbrella wielding fast-talking-quick-walking tour guide.
Of course, an itinerary or even a schedule of some sort is just not possible with my family. Everyone has a little too much going on times and dates are constantly changing.
When I arrived home I knew I had to have something to help keep everything straight. I am disorganized by nature, but as long as people don't look in my desk drawers, I am pretty good at appearing and acting organized. My planner is pretty much my extra limb during the school year, but it gets tossed aside as soon as May arrives. My sort-of-solution to not have an itinerary this summer was to buy a planner and actually write in it. The planner I bought from Target has been helpful and even sort of fun because it has a dry-erase chalkboard.
These are my reverse culture shock stories. Of course there are more small things I experience upon my return such as the love-hate relationship my body had with American food the first week I was back and my constant desire to go on walks around my neighborhood to explore, but overall I adjusted really well to America.
Now that I am not traveling I am faced with finding a new subject to blog about. If anyone has any suggestions, requests or ideas please leave a comment below.

When in Rome... Again!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On my third day in Italy I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to be sure I was guaranteed a return to Rome.
On my last day in Italy I regretted this earlier action when I found myself traveling to a hotel in the heart of Rome to stay for one extra day.

The morning we were supposed to leave was hectic, but our large student group had actually made it to Terminal 5 right before it was to open. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until we learned we had been told to go to the wrong terminal. When we reached the right terminal we were too late to make our flight. However, we still ran through the airport and tried to get someone to help us possibly hold the flight.
The problem was that in Italy no one really wants to do her job.
The woman at the help desk sent us to another group of employees. The other employees sent us back to the woman at the help desk. We were finally informed by the lady at the "help" desk that there was nothing she could do to help us.
As she got up to get her morning cup of coffee, she erased all of our hopes of getting back to Texas.
So we missed our flight. We re-booked our tickets. And we got a bonus day in Rome.
A lot of us were tired because we had stayed up all night long traveling to the airport, but we made the most of it.
We stopped by the Scholar's Lounge for food, free water (a rarity in Italy!) & soccer.

I also got to return to my favorite place in all of Italy.

We also stopped by a little cafe that is known for their hot chocolate.

And finally after a long flight and 23 hours without sleep I returned home to Texas.

From Diamonds to Sand