God bless America. God bless Texas. God bless Chick-fil-a, tacos, and queso. Since moving back to Houston, I have been spending loads of time with friends and family, as well as stuffing my face with delicious food! I’ve been back from Beijing for about two months now and have been enjoying every minute. I miss China, and everything and everyone that I left behind, but there is no place like home!
When I first got back to Houston, everyone was asking me, “Does it feel weird?” and my answer was, “It’s weird that it isn’t weird.” What I mean by this is, Texas will always feel like home to me. No matter how many different countries I live in, there will only ever be one true home, and that’s Texas. It will never feel foreign or strange to me. Of course some things change and some relationships change, but Texas will always be familiar and comfortable no matter how much time passes. With that being said, however, I enjoy feeling uncomfortable in a new place, and I love seeking new relationships and new places!
Reverse culture shock
I wasn’t really “shocked” by anything when I returned, but there were definitely cultural differences that stood out to me. Things that reminded me how great living in America is, and also things that made me miss culture in China.
First, the sky in Houston is blue and the clouds are fluffy and white. You’re probably thinking, “wow that’s not that special.” But, y’all, it is! Beijing’s sky was mostly greyish-blueish and smoggy. I had taken the beautiful Texas skies for granted, and I’ll never do that again.
Everyone speaks and understands English here. Of course they do, it’s America. In Beijing, however, I came across very few Chinese people who I could speak with (that weren’t the Chinese teachers who taught with me). Almost no taxi drivers, supermarket clerks, baristas, or waiters could converse with me in English. It was a challenge, but I learned enough Chinese to survive. “Wo yao meishi kafei” or “I want an americano coffee”. But now I can blab on and on to anyone and everyone I want to! (Sorry Uber driver)!
The open container law has really stumped me a few times since being back. It was so normal and casual in Beijing to walk around with a beer in your hand, or to have wine at the park! We would even take our drinks into a taxi sometimes! This is absolutely not the case in America, and I may have forgotten this law a few times.
I understand tipping is totally necessary in America with how little waiters and waitresses get paid per hour, but it was so nice not having to add an extra $5 to every meal I had in Beijing. If the hamburger cost 50 RMB then you knew you were only paying 50 RMB at the end of the meal.
So, what’s next?
As amazing as it has been back in Houston, I have decided that I want to continue my adventure abroad and I have chosen Lisbon, Portugal for my next destination! My boyfriend and I are taking on this journey together and are crossing our fingers and praying that we find great jobs and make good friends! I will be hopping on a plane next weekend to start this new and exciting chapter! Keep an eye out for my next post from Europe!