Reverse culture shock, post-travel blues… whatever it is people call them, I’ve heard that’s a thing, but this is the first summer that I have been distinctly aware of experiencing this. I feel listless and bored, uninterested even in watching television or reading; an empty day causes stress because I don’t know how to fill it, rather than relaxation. I remember this itchiness in college – the desire to do something, to want to do something, but not know what it is I wanted to do, and not feeling like I had anyone to do it with. My automatic instinct when I feel this is to think, well… I haven’t been to see my friends in San Francisco in years, or, maybe I should visit Boston again… before I remind myself that I’m focusing on being in Claremont now, that I’m working on being at home and enjoying my family and friends that are here, rather than running off to something more exciting.
The other day I was at Disneyland, one of my favorite destinations, aboard the Indiana Jones ride. As we crossed a wobbly bridge, the safari car threatening to unseat us, I was struck with an odd feeling of deja vu- when had I recently experienced a similar rush of adrenaline? And then I remembered… in Beirut, aboard the crazy buses and taxis that weave their way through mountain roads and in between traffic as though they are unbreakable, or have passed all the codes and inspections of Disneyland’s imagineers. While I’m happy not to live in a country whose traffic laws approximate a children’s ride meant to make you feel unsafe, I miss the feeling of living, of constant conversation and stimulation, of feeling completely aware of being alive, even if that realization was through pain or fear.
I love my hometown, and I always will; there is something inherently lovable about comfort, consistency and stability, but returning to this after three months of unending overstimulation, conversation and the constant stream of new, exciting, and beautiful people has been a greater challenge than I’d anticipated. Since I have decided to be here indefinitely, I am making the most of it, attempting to become more active and develop those so-called ‘hobbies’ that I never had time for in college. Everyone close to me be warned – you will most likely be receiving personal sketches, watercolors, and experimental baked goods in the very near future.