I have a bad case of reverse culture Shock!!!!!!!!!!!
If you have no idea what I am talking about, check the visuals below and continue reading on to find out more…
I have heard so many stories of travelers returning home and wishing they were out wandering the globe, but I never imagined that will be me someday because I missed home and loved being in my home country a lot.
I remember times when I’m on the phone with friends and we talk a lot about their life back in Nigeria, the struggles, the energy and vibes, the opportunities, the frustrations and so on. They would sometimes say to me that they miss their previous lives and wouldn’t mind going back to it. This may have been their lives abroad or even just a state away at university.
The biggest takeaway for me was there was varying accounts of life after university, for the “Nigerian student”, the “positive abroad student” and the “negative abroad student”. Their approach differed and so I didn’t really understand the true nature of what lay ahead of me. And add that to me being the type of person that lives for experiencing things first hand, and navigating unknown territories and formerly known ones.
I was mad excited to come back and no one could change my mind about it. I guess living abroad for a very long time kind of took its toll on me and I just needed a full dosage of Nigeria.
And so I came back.
It has been two months now and boy has it been a ride. To be fair though I was out of the country for 2 weeks out of these 2 months, but I still felt the full force of what it meant to have a reverse culture shock!
The novice excitement I felt coming back was replaced slowly with a plethora of negative emotions as the days passed by…
I think I have at this point flushed the excitement all out of my system and now I yearn for my Uni days—the freedom, friends, excitement, adventure, personal time and just the opportunity to do the things I want and love— those I miss a lot. Everyday that something inconveniences my new life or the lack of something, I am reminded of my new reality and so I spiral into negative emotions towards the situation
I was talking to a foreigner living in Nigeria last week and he kept asking me questions about where to find certain things in Abuja. I was at a loss most of the time, I had no answer for him because everything was new and even the old has kind of disappeared. I didn’t know when I blurted out, I feel like a foreigner here.
And then it dawned on me…..I am a foreigner in my Country!
And you see the shock, sadness, and disbelief slowly wore off and I felt a certain kind of understanding of my situation.
The negative emotions and energy I felt towards leaving the life I have known for the past few years started to become clear to me. Why I was feeling all that and why I didn’t truly feel at home in Nigeria— outside the literal home I grew up in. This was all because I was still seeing Nigeria through the lens of England. As true human nature, I couldn’t stop comparing the life I had and the life I am having.
And because of this it meant I expected Nigeria to be just as good and even better than England because this was now the life and place I will be living in. I expected all the mundane and grandeur that made up my life in England to be replicated here.
But you see what I missed out was that my reversed homesickness for the place that wasn’t “home” to begin with— a place which slowly creeped into my skin and into my heart, a place that now feels like a second home— became home and has affected my relationship with the “home”— (Nigeria)—I first knew and fell in love with, the home that shaped the young teenager that left for England years ago.
So the adjustment begins—I use the present continuous tense because I think it is still an ongoing learning and adjusting process— and it will take a while for me to learn to start appreciating living in Nigeria again. I have to search for its charms and create new things to do and love, new ways of absorbing culture and entertainment, new hobbies and the most difficult of them all is finding new friends in the city that I will now call home for a while.
I think the most difficult thing about moving to a new country and starting a new life somewhere is made easier when you have people to fall back on. Abuja where I live now was never really a place I lived in. Hence the friends I had from secondary school where all somewhere else and then Uni came and I uprooted again and made a nest of friends in a new “somewhere else”.
So although I will miss my life back in England and the amazing “family” I adopted there, I look forward to building on the group of friends existing here as a grown up “twenty something” navigating the Abuja living. I am open to new adventures and revisiting old ones…..cheers to a new homecoming.
Side note: I believe that a lot of people can relate to this. Can you please share your experience with me, how you overcame it or are still overcoming it and just fun stories about moving somewhere new or going back to somewhere known. Find me social media @planetmeera or leave me a comment down below.
As for me, I shall be telling you more stories of my homecoming so please stay tuned!