When I first got on the plane to get home, I was excited to see my old friends and family again, despite having to say goodbye to everyone I had met in Spain. Yet, when I landed back in the States, I felt like a stranger. I listened to everyone speaking English and it sounded so foreign to me. It lacked that fluid, spicy sound that I’d come to adore hearing from the Spaniards. In the airport, I kept slipping into Spanish and was frustrated when almost no one understood me and kept giving me strange looks. I truly felt like a stranger in my country.
Upon getting home, my dad insisted he make me dinner, consisting of chicken, salad, some beans, and pasta. I remember tasting the salad and laying my head down on the table. My dad was confused at first, but when I explained my feeling, he understood: It wasn’t Spanish salad. It wasn’t the cuisine I was used to. The chicken tasted incredibly greasy to me, and my stomach certainly didn’t like it either. Even now, there are still certain foods I won’t eat, just because I don’t like them much now. Everything is sweeter to me now, as well. Coke tastes so syrupy and strange. It was definitely an experience adjusting back to everything. The eating schedule here in America was odd to me at first as well. I was so used to eating at 9pm for dinner, instead of 5pm. I couldn’t take a siesta (nap) every day anymore; it’s not a scheduled part of daily life here in the States, like it is in Spain. That’s definitely something I miss most. The Spanish used siesta to relax and take a break from the business of work. They see American’s work ethic as formidable, but far too exhausting and stressful, and I can’t help but agree with them now; I think Americans need to relax and learn to slow sometimes, and just enjoy the little things in life.
Presently, I feel like most of the reverse culture shock has subsided, but I know that from now on, I will have a home in Spain. There are things there that I can only experience there, things that I will always miss, and things that give me a reason to return someday.