Back in the United States
I’m back home. After twenty-six months of Peace Corps and three weeks of travelling around South East Asia, there is American soil under my feet again. Service ended on June 5, and I arrived at the the DFW airport on July 4.
The most obvious and fair question is to ask what readjustment has been like.It’s been easier than I expected. Reverse-culture shock is a buzzword and feared phenomenon amongst returning Peace Corps Volunteers, but I don’t think I’ve felt it. This is not to say there aren’t differences between Indonesia and the U.S., but to say that home – for all of it’s postive attributes as well as flaws – is as I remember it to be. Two years is a long time to be away, but it’s no match for twenty-plus years of familiarity. Perhaps I will notice differences in the way I perceive American culture, but it’s still too early to tell.
Now that I’m back home, there are things in Indonesia that I miss, and there are aspects of America I’ve particularly enjoyed. Nasi pecel still calls to me, but the reasonable variety of ethnic cuisine in Dallas – Thai, Vietnamese, Mediteranean, and most importantly, Mexican – is almost enough to make me forget that there isn’t a single Indonesian restaurant in the area (if you do happen to know of an Indonesian joint, contact me immediately; I will settle for Malaysian). I also miss Java’s daily routine during Ramadan. While there is an Islamic presence across North Texas, I admit I haven’t put much effort into exploring it. The late sunsets around eight-thirty p.m. make the idea of this month’s fasting daunting. Other things such as new museums, casual rock climbing, picnics with live music, baseball games, drinking beer, and general anonymity are welcome pleasures.
As a family friend surmised, I have five years of stories to tell about the last two years. The same goes for the three weeks I spent in Sumatra, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. I decided that the best way to share that time would be through a photo-collage of items I picked up along the way. I’m still putting it together, but it will appear in a future post.