I wrote this blog post about three months ago when I was officially back in Germany for one year already. I originally wanted to start my blog with this post, but then decided to start with the article that I wrote right after I came back. Now I decided to finally post it before it gets too old to actually matter. Enjoy!
A little bit more than a year ago, I returned from my year abroad. I was living in San Francisco, completing the last year of my Bachelor studies at the San Francisco State University and certainly having the time of my life. Immediately after my arrival at home (I moved back in with my parents for a couple of months), the reverse culture shock and the “homesickness for SF” hit me in the face. Hard. How I coped with it would be a different blog post (spoiler alert: I didn’t cope with it at all), but I also wrote one of my first blog posts about how my year abroad changed me. You can read the post in all it’s (non-existent) glory here.
I basically talked about how my appearance, my attitude, and my group of friends changed. Really random thoughts, I know. Now, I thought, it would be time to reflect about that whole topic again. Now that the reverse culture shock has worn off, but the homesickness for the distance stayed. When I first came home, all I ever talked about was going back and everyone told me that would wear off soon. Well, let’s have a look where I am today.
My appearance changed again, obviously. These changes come with changes in lifestyle, diet, career and stress level. But other changes that I talked before are more permanent: my attitude, for example, did not change again. I am still a stronger, more confident, more independent woman than I was before I left Germany for a year. I also have the same perspective on grades and career. During my stay abroad I realized that there so many things out there that are more important than perfect grades and a perfectly planned career. However, I got my old ambitions back. After I came home, I was not quite motivated to get going with my career and my studies. I still did, though. Now, I’m back on track with my studies and I realized that I wouldn’t be happy without studies and just traveling. I am planning to finish my Master’s program on time and I am currently researching possible PhD programs for me.
The reverse culture shock did wear off eventually like people told me. Sometimes I still think that things are better in the States, but mostly I realized that a lot of things are just as fine or even better here in Germany. I think it’s safe to say that I took off the pink glasses when looking at San Francisco and the States in general.
The homesickness for my second home, however, lingered on. I still miss my friends, our great evenings together, my local grocery store, the beach, and simply the whole city. And although I know that it will never be the same (friends moved away, my occupation would be different), I am convinced that I want to go back to San Francisco and live there again. I also think that my opportunity to go back is now: I am young and nothing’s holding me here in Germany. Why should I not try to go back for the next step in my career (which would be pursuing a PhD)?
So this is where I am right now: Still full of homesickness and with the plan to return to San Francisco or at least the Bay Area by August next year for grad school. And I am inviting to take this journey with me on this blog 🙂
Any returned expats out there? What are your stories?