Reverse Culture Shock: Weird Things I'm Noticing Back In The USA - Daring Migration
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Reverse Culture Shock: Weird Things I’m Noticing Back In The USA

A neon sign in Chiang Mai, Thailand that reads "wanderlust".

Reverse Culture Shock: Weird Things I’m Noticing Back In The USA

A neon sign in Chiang Mai, Thailand that reads "wanderlust".

A neon sign in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Literally every time I say “back in the US” I think of that Beatles song Back in the USSR, except I sing it Back in the USSA*.

*Nothing to do with current politics… I’ve had the compulsion for years.

Now that we’re back in the USSA after our longest ever trip away (two months… eeep!) I’m noticing a few habits I picked up or expectations I have that aren’t quite working here.

Most of them are pretty silly. We weren’t in Thailand or Japan long enough to engrain any hard core habits. But I am still bowing a little when I say thank you.

I’m also reaching for the light switch outside the bathroom instead of just inside the door. It seems like wet-room bathrooms are the norm in Japan and Thailand. Electricity plus water equals bad so switches tend to be just outside the door.

Thankfully I’m not so used to Thai bathrooms that I’m trying to take a shower in the middle of the room.

Speaking of bathrooms, I’m dismayed that I have to worry about running out of hot water again. Every bathroom we’ve used in the last two months has had those hot water on demand things.

They. Are. Brilliant.

Need a long shower after a hot smoggy day? No problem. The hot water will last forever. No idea why we don’t use them more often in the US.

A nice difference is the ability to use my debit card everywhere again. You would think Japan, being a modern high tech place, would have some kind of mind controlled digital payment system. Nope. So many places are cash only.

Same in Thailand.

I wonder what accounts for that. Maybe people don’t like credit cards?

OK OK, I admit, it sounds like I’ve got the most mundane case of reverse culture shock in the history of reverse culture shock. But I try to notice mundane little differences like light switch placement because that’s part of what makes traveling fun. I can’t appreciate or be amused by differences if I don’t notice them, right?

Do you do that too? What weird little differences have you noticed in your travels


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Kat Landreth

Web Dev, nomad, future expat, and compulsive researcher of all the things.

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