Ah, I get it. You are returning to the United States, and you are preparing for the much-feared reverse culture shock. What to expect?
You should expect to find it weird when people address you in English, that the grocery store has about three hundred different types of cereal, and people want to talk to you while standing in line. Yeah, okay, I feel ya. I see how that could seem weird or odd for a while after you return home.
But let me tell you something, sometimes I wonder if I grew up in an alternate universe, if perhaps my experience of the US has been different from many expats who write on the Internet, because some things I just don’t see. Some stereotypes just don’t fit my experience. I write this to see if I am alone.
1. Americans are always in a hurry
I live in Madrid, so everyone seems to be in a hurry, especially on my morning commute. But my experiences in Madrid aren’t extended to the rest of Spain. Thus, I find it hard to believe Americans are always in a hurry, because most of my family and friends don’t ever seem to be in a hurry. Where are all these hurrying people you’re talking about? New York City? Where?
I’m talking with my coworkers in Madrid, and they casually mention how Americans are. You know, all of us, all the time—how we act (boorish), how we think (hint: we don’t), what we look like (obese), what we eat (hamburgers, fast food, and generally junk). My pulse quickens, and I feel the urge to say something, anything, because they are oh-so wrong. But what do I say? How can I not act like a know-it-all? Most importantly, how can I convince them that not all of us would choose a greasy hamburger as our last meal?
Thanks for putting up with the blog absence while I spent time with my in-laws during our stateside wedding reception. Photos will be coming shortly!
Let’s meet my newest guiri who is a new arrival in Madrid this September: Lauren blogs at Life After College.
Hello, Lauren! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Please let our readers know a bit more about you.
My name is Lauren, I’m twenty-three years old, from Rhode Island (yes it really is a state!), and will be moving to Spain this September to teach in Madrid with the Spanish government’s program Auxiliares de Conversación. I decided to make the move to Spain partly because of the experience teaching abroad. I have a teaching degree here in the USA, but it’s very difficult to find a full-time job in my state—and partly because I want to be closer to my Spanish boyfriend.
How did you meet your boyfriend?
I am really excited to publish this interview with Elizabeth. I found myself identifying with her answers is so many ways. You can check out her blog at Slightly Nomadic.
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! So, tell us about yourself!
My name is Elizabeth Bostick, I am from Rhode Island, and I just turned 26 years old. I write a travel blog called Slightly Nomadic. I was in Spain last year, as an auxiliar de conversación in Sevilla, but I recently moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to teach Middle School French and Spanish. This makes for a super long distance relationship with my Spaniard!
Ah, I have had that same situation in a way! After the 2010–2011 school year, I moved home to help with a local ESL program while we maintained a LDR. How did you meet your Spaniard?