Today marks one year that I have been back in the States.
12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds.
Not that I am counting.
I actually cannot believe that it has been a year already. That means I have completed my dissertation. That means that I have graduated from the University of Edinburgh. That means I went back to Scotland to attend my graduation.That means that I am about 1/3 of the way done with my doctoral program. That means I am getting ready to take the qualifying exam to stay in the program. That means I am about to kiss my summer goodbye.
That means I have spent 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds missing Scotland.
One year later and I am still grieving the loss my life there. I miss the people, I miss the adventure, I miss the friends that I made there.
In one of the first classes I took at the University of Edinburgh we read an article about reverse culture shock. “Reverse culture shock is experienced when returning to a place that one expects to be home but actually is no longer, is far more subtle, and therefore, more difficult to manage than outbound shock precisely because it is unexpected and unanticipated,” says Dean Foster, founder and president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, a firm that provides intercultural training and coaching worldwide.
I read the article, participated in the discussion for the class, and didn’t give reverse culture shock another thought.
Smash cut to a month ago when I finally figured out everything that was making me unhappy here.
I miss Scotland. I left my heart there, and despite the “on paper” appearance of everything being great here, all that I really did was put off actually dealing with being back in California. I came home and jumped into my dissertation. When that was completed, I started the doctoral program. After the first semester in the program, I picked up a third job. Somewhere in all of that, I also tried to find happiness with a boy. In short, I did everything but try to adjust to what life is now like for me here.
In short, it sucks. I don’t fit in here. I will always be a California kid, but I no longer want to be a California adult. I make no secret of telling people that I plan to go back overseas the minute I can, and I am not kidding. Since I cannot pack up and leave tomorrow, I will console myself with trips overseas to see my friends when I can, and work as hard as I can right now to make myself a really good Kim for my next overseas adventure.
I will graduate in exactly 2 years from today. That is 24 months. 104 weeks. 730 days. 17,531 hours.
Not that I am counting.
The good thing is, I can, and plan to, get a lot done in that time.