Reverse Culture Shock: Pangs of Loss

The first couple of months I came back to the United States were the hardest. I struggled to find normalcy in my life. My life had completely changed:

  1. I went from a full-time job to having no job.
  2. I went from interacting with people in Korean on a daily basis to not hearing Korean at all.
  3. I went from speaking minimal English to having listen and speak it everyday–and often from people that spoke loudly.
  4. I went from living independently (for over 10 years) to moving in with my mom.
  5. My diet completely changed; my favorite Korean foods were no longer an easy (nor cheap) option.
  6. I went from sleeping on blankets on the floor to an air mattress.

The list goes on…there was only one thing that was the same: walking my dog. I found myself walking my dog frequently to escape the house, to try to forget that my life was no longer the same. I preferred to walk late at night when it was dark reminded me of my late night walks (with and without Sue) in Korea. Sometimes my thoughts would go in a downward spiral about everything I had lost and given up by coming back to America. To be honest, I would spend most of these walks in tears. It took me months to get over the pangs of what I had lost….but that’s a post for another day.

One of my vacation stops in Korea

One of my vacation stops in Korea

Anyone else have a similar feeling of loss when they returned to their home country?



  1. Damian Perez · · Reply

    Lots of lost, during my time there were no email or digital camara. We cherished the fotos. Couldn´t wait to get them developed and see how we came out. Now, there are so many ways to capture that moment, yet we don´t even take pictures.  Time has changed folks don´t value the same things. We lived in this world where we think we know all the answers. We don´t want to take the time to hold a conversation, and we try to talk to someone they look at you with questionalble eyes, mistrust and repulsion.  From one end of the spectrum to the other, that is the young and old only tune you in for a few minutes than they want you gone.  Everyone seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere. Once there I bet there eager to head another way. Relationships, I bum on that, I ask, what the hell did I do?? But life goes on. Here I am, my old country, where crime, robbery, sanitation, poverty and so on has gone worse than better. Yet we called ourselves better educated.  My advice find your zone of comfort, make the best, the best of that surrounding and live happy. Thank the Lord you have that education and seen the world that others wish to see, live and even be in your shoes. I know there is a lot of run on sentences, too many ideas in a line. We tend to complaint, just stop, look at the scenery and smile.  When it rains walk in it.  we are alive. PS  huggs across the miles and keep writing.. 

  2. Glad to see you blogging again! I was just wondering how you were doing.

    I definitely struggled when I first came back to the US from the UK. Like you, I moved in with my parents, missed hearing another language (or, really, accent), missed certain foods and places… I was really depressed for a long time. It took me about a year to finally get “over” having to come back to the US and be okay with living in Texas again, but even five years later I have some days where I still really miss things about England and even though I don’t spend ALL my time missing it, I don’t think I’ll ever really stop being sad in some way. :/

    1. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one, but I’m sorry to hear that you went through it too. It was something that I was definitely unprepared for!

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