Culture Shock in my Own City

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I’m home!

It feels a bit strange to be back in Vancouver. I’m definitely happy to see family and friends again, but the way of life that I left behind three months ago requires some time to readjust to. I’m still jet lagged, even though I’ve been home for 5 days already. I was feeling fine when I arrived on Tuesday night, but I started to wake up at 4 or 5AM as nights passed. Last night I woke up at 6AM, so hopefully in a few days I will be progressively waking up at a later time.

Oddly enough, I’m experiencing a mild culture shock in my own city. I finally settled in and got the hang of things in England, and then I had to pack up and leave for Vancouver soon after. It’s interesting to take a step back and observe the similarities and differences in culture and how “normal” is defined depending on where you live. The lifestyles of British and Vancouverites are neither better or worse than the other – they are just different.

A few days after I came home, I encountered various experiences and sensations that threw me off of my routine and way of doing things. Stepping into the shower without flip flops for the first time in 3 months was strange. I kept turning the key right to try to unlock my house door, when I should have turned it left. After having a wholesome diet full of baguettes and healthy home cooked meals in England, I found out my stomach could no longer handle the greasy, chemically-treated restaurant food anymore. I had pho and spring rolls the day after I came back and my stomach would not stop twirling. Maybe this is my chance to establish a permanent healthy diet consisting of whole foods!

Something I absolutely miss is being surrounded by people who speak in a British accent. It feels very, very strange to hear people speak in a Canadian accent in public spaces. I was used to deciphering and inferring what people were saying (the Northern English accent is harder to understand than the South) and being the token “Canadian who sounds American” person that turned heads when I spoke. I also miss using the small amount of the British accent that I acquired. Since most of my friends on exchange are British, my speech would sometimes match theirs and I would say certain words with a British intonation, such as saying “cah-d” instead of emphasizing the “r” in “card”. My friend Valeria loved calling me out when I would say words with a British accent. Speaking with an accent would just seem forced and unnatural now, but I still catch myself extending the ending when I say “oh really”. I hope it stays this way. The British accent is just so lovely to listen to.

Going on exchange has been the best decision I made for myself. My reflections on my exchange as a whole will be saved for a future post!

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