Tag Archives: culture shock

Being Back – The Big Adjustment

by Gail Mooney
September 15 2010

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been back two weeks already.  The time has flown by – a long holiday weekend, an ASMP Board meeting in Philadelphia (American Society of Media Photographers), and starting the daunting task of editing this film.  I guess it’s been good to be busy, pushing me right back into things – kind of like jumping into the ocean rather than going in gradually.  But on the other hand, I haven’t taken the proper time to reflect back on our 99-day journey or to sort out and digest the culture shock of being back.

1.   I miss my daughter.

Erin and Gail, Taj Mahal, Agra, India

We created a close bond during our journey and I feel like I’m going through withdrawal.  We were together 24/7 for the last 3 months – we were either going to become very close or come back never wanting to talk to each other again.  We connected with each other on this trip on many levels, working together, living together, sleeping together and having hundreds of wonderful conversations.  I really miss that.
2.    Reality check.  All the little (and big) things and issues that didn’t get resolved prior to the trip are still there, waiting for my attention.  Everything from computer issues, to driver license renewal to other tasks that had been put on the back burner.
3.    Culture shock.  It’s jarring when you first return to the U.S. after being in third world countries. We are a culture of a lot of excess and abundance and we tend to lose sight of that.  I am much more grateful for what I have and what I really need after these travels. I have a much clearer perspective about what’s really important – and what’s not. The other day, workers started jack hammering on a bridge that was being repaired at the end of my street. It was very early in the morning and for an instant I thought – “I should call someone about them starting so early” and then I thought how petty – I’m already up and it’s no big deal in the scheme of things compared to open sewage running through an orphanage, that we witnessed in Nepal.
4.    TV is too much.  Watching TV is a real eye opener.  Hundreds of channels to choose from loaded with pundits and experts and the shock and awe of reality shows.  Where did all these “experts” come from?  Were they always there or did we invent them to fill the content for 300 channels?  I can’t watch more than 5 minutes of the “news” – what happened to journalism?
5.   Re-connecting.  Resuming relationships with my husband, my friends, my colleagues.  With social media, I felt like I was pretty much always connected but since I’ve been back I’ve felt more disconnected in a way.  People are busy with their own lives and it’s tough sometimes to get real time with people these days.  Social media is one thing but it will never replace a face to face.  It has become more apparent to me how we all live our lives caught up in such a rush – to get to the next day or the next event or whatever, rarely making time for the simple little things in life like just visiting with a friend. We all seem to be so “tuned in” and connected  but are we?

I’m off to start my day, which will be devoted to editing this film.  It will be a necessary and good distraction from the reality of being back.

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