Having spent the last 15 months in (mainly rural) Asia, I was aware I may experience “reverse culture shock” on return to the Western world.
But what this would actually feel like was beyond me.
Culture shock itself could be described as a complete overwhelm of the senses. Spurred by confusion and amazement.
Reverse culture shock is different.
The way I would describe it is this… before I left the UK 18 months ago I thought I knew what poverty was, I thought that not having the latest car or the absence of a big extension on ones house meant one was struggling. I took literacy and numeracy for granted. Was under the elusion that a well functioning sewerage system, good air quality, higher education etc. were fundamental tenets of society.
I didn’t appreciate that brands create value above what’s intrinsic. That much of what we see in health food shops or supermarkets are every day items in other countries, and only superfoods or novel due to branding and import.
I wasn’t aware it was possible to step outside of ones little bubble and free themselves from status competition (to a certain extent). Or that you could create new status games based upon criteria such as intellect or ideas rather than pure materialistic demands.
And thats really just the tip of the iceberg. So when I apply these “new” lenses to a world I’m familiar with, it all of a sudden takes on different meanings.