Although it has taken a few days for my body to adjust enough for my brain to function again, I think my transition back to Iowa time, life and food has gone smoothly for the most part. I’m still unable to keep myself awake past 7:30-8:30 in the evening, but hopefully that will wear off soon.
I originally thought that it would be extremely difficult for me to make all the readjustments to living back in Iowa, and that I would feel a bit strange being here. Luckily I haven’t found that to be the case. From the moment I walked out the doors at O’Hare, I felt so comfortable. There really is no feeling that matches coming home after an extended period away.
For the most part, I think I was just over thinking the entire situation. I suppose that in a way I feared the people around me wouldn’t embrace how I have changed, but thus far there haven’t been any issues. People have noticed I do some things a bit differently than I used to, but nothing too drastic.
The only real problem I’ve had is with myself and exercising self control. I should have paced myself more, slowly taking back in various aspects of life back in the state, but I jumped right in instead. Needless to say I’ve been a little overwhelmed and exhausted with an extremely angry stomach lately.
The plan was to incorporate many aspects of the European lifestyle into my life back here in Iowa, but truth be told, some things have been thrown out the window already. This isn’t because they are “bad” things, but rather because some things just aren’t applicable to living here, like not using the air conditioner (it’s on full blast and will remain so) or completely relying on public transportation.
Many things have stuck with me, though, like being more conscious of recycling and being less wasteful by doing small things, like going grocery shopping on a smaller scale. Shopping in general has been an interesting venture for me, as I have been facing the pressure to become a heavy consumer again.
For example, the other day I did what I’ve done a million times before, and for the first time it felt extremely strange and somewhat uncomfortable to me: I walked into Walmart. When traveling around Europe (and especially in Eastern European countries), I saw so many less fortunate people that I had a hard time walking up and down the aisles of fully-stocked shelves.
In the past I would have never thought twice about filling up my cart, but with seeing all of the choices we have in comparison to the cramped, dirty and under stocked stores I experienced , it was difficult for me to even consider throwing a $3.00 box of cereal in the cart.
Studying abroad opened my eyes. I never would have considered myself to be ‘out of touch’ with the World around me, but I have gained a greater understanding of other cultures, their lifestyles and problems. Sometimes it’s difficult to fully grasp onto things that seem “so far away,” and seeing it with my own eyes made all the difference.