a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
The year is now 2010. I have been on the road, so to speak, since 2003. I am no longer the 21-year old I was then, thankfully. I was now a 28-year old who had travelled to more than 15 different countries and lived in 6 different cities. I now had a Master’s and a DELTA and a whole lot of experience and experiences. Then my visa ran out and I had to go home, only this time I decided it was time to go home for good. Experiencing a near-miss with the tsunami and having had a few other hairy experiences, I thought I would spare my poor parents any more stress and come home to rest.
So I did. And it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.
It’s funny. When you leave a place, it stays static in your mind and even if you return many years later, you will return to that picture in your mind of what it was when you left. You, in the meantime, have changed a million times over and you know you are not the same person. At the same time, your family and friends do the same to you. They imagine you are still the person they said goodbye to all those years ago, while they have moved on and got new boyfriends (husbands even), bought cars and houses and even have proper jobs. While for all these years you’ve been thinking of them drinking beers in the same locals you used to go to (which have now all shut down or been turned into something else).
It’s nobody’s fault, really, but it’s a fact and I think it should be talked about more often. Of course I experienced culture shock for a few weeks in each of the places I lived in, but that’s ok because I expected that. I didn’t expect it when I got home. I felt lost and weird and like I didn’t belong, which is a crap way to feel in your own hometown.
I know I know, boohoo and all that, but this was just a thought which I wanted to share. Time passes, life moves on and things change, whether we like it or not. Keep that in mind when you decide to go back home for good.
FYI: www.onestopenglish.com has a great activity on culture shock for your lessons.