I’m not quite sure how I feel about coming back. But as I am reminded every time I see an old face, I am definitely back.
I’m a study-abroad alum now!
I am thrilled to be back among my family and friends, be back in a familiar environment where I don’t have to worry about doing something wrong and saying something wrong, and to take up old routines and habits again.
At the same time, seeing how everyone has continued their lives while I’ve been abroad makes me surprise myself in how much I’ve changed. Just working through normal bureaucracy at the Uni reveals that I’ve become more assertive and less patient with the services I need. It’s because I’ve become used to a higher standard. Towards the end of my stay, I found out how expensive things like lawn and plumbing care are in Germany, and I was told that it has to do with the higher standard of service. I didn’t think that the same work is valued differently in the US than in Germany, but it has to do with the higher training Germans have. Even the cashier at the supermarket has an Ausbildung, an extensive program 1-2 years of training. Compared to that, the 12 hours orientation the day before starting at Target are a joke. Therefore, when I walk into some administrative offices now, I almost feel like I have to tell the person how to do their job, but I try not to be rude about it.
On the other hand, my jet-lag has worn off, and it feels like I’ve been back here for about three months versus a little less than two weeks. Part of my transition has been sped-up by how quickly I was put into a new position and started work. I guess it’s a good thing. It means I have less time to reflect, but reflection can only be so healthy before it becomes obsessive.