Culture shock. It's something you think about when you visit a foreign country or become an expat (a foreigner living in another country for work or school, usually). But, very, very little is talked about when you reinter your own country after living abroad.
I thought, in no way would I experience this. After all, when we lived in Asia, we came home once or twice a year and stayed an extended period. But, when we moved back to Texas (almost 2 years ago now) after living in Kuala Lumpur for 3 plus years, I felt it, and it's definitely real.
The familiarity of home... all that is wonderful about it: easy access to whatever you want and as much of it as you'd like was a little overwhelming and seemed so over the top compared to Asia. My favorite comfort foods, clothing (that fits a tall Texan), friends and family that are dear to me, are now near again. (Although, most have moved or found friend replacements or are simply in a different part of the city- so far (15 minutes!) that your paths just do not cross anymore). Then, there's the ultimate shock of re-inventing yourself... yet again. I think it was simple for my spouse. He has the things he enjoys and certain freedoms again (a car to drive on his own (we shared a car and driver in KL), a great new job, his family close by).
For me, thankfully I've always had teaching (a constant form of identity). My yoga practice has grown, after spending most of these past 4 years in trainings (as my sweet yoginis from the hood will agree!) and figuring out not only my life but what my ultimate purpose is. When you move every 2-3 years, over-seas or just across the country, there is this strange sense of re-inventing yourself. Who will I be, what will I do, will I have friends, will my kids acclimate well to school, is this all there is to life? Have I done all that God has for me? Am I living my dharma (life's purpose)?
I'm old enough to know that I haven't even scratched the surface and young enough to be grateful of that. Yoga has been a constant thread in my life and so in gratitude, I always close my classes with "it's been an honor and a privilege to serve and teach you today." I feel that grace- deep within me - that keeps me moving day to day, class to class, knowing that eventually my dharma will be revealed in just the right time.