Reverse Culture Shock: Brisbane to Berkeley

Since I’ve been abroad home feels different. Or I feel different at home. I suppose that’s expected. It’s pretty cheesy but I actually did learn a lot about myself last year while I was in Australia, and it’s cool to see how that manifests itself in Berkeley. I learned what kind of people I like to surround myself with, and have spent much more time with the people who mean the most to me, and making those relationships more significant. I learned how to be more independent and do things on my own – being in an unfamiliar place makes that difficult but much more rewarding.

I think the thing I miss the most is feeling one hundred percent in control of my life. How weird, right, to feel in control in a place you are unfamiliar with? But while abroad I was doing everything I wanted to do. I wanted to go into the city for lunch? Hopped on the bus the second I was craving the fresh food from the market. Felt like going shopping? Got myself to Indooroopilly and spent a bit of time looking around. Beer at lunch? Did it. Weekend in a completely different city? Tickets bought a few hours later. I was so spontaneous and really took advantage of my surroundings while still feeling like I had a handle on school, my health, and friends. At school in Berkeley, maybe we go to dinner somewhere cool on a Friday, but heading into San Francisco seems to take weeks of planning and doing homework ahead of time to feel okay spending a day wandering the Haight.

My friends abroad noticed this too. Once, a friend made the point that Americans are working all the time-we work in high school to work in college to work. In Australia, everyone is focused on life as a whole, not just the work aspect of it. That’s something I’m still trying really hard to find in Berkeley, even after almost eight months back from my semester abroad. Sometimes it feels almost like a competition – who can be the most stressed out? Who can work the hardest and be the busiest? That race is one I’d certainly like to get out of, and I’m trying to find that feeling of control I felt in Australia in familiar old Berkeley.

The pictures from last semester literally cover my walls. Not a day or even an hour goes by where something doesn’t remind me of Australia and through sometimes it makes me so sad not to be there anymore or to feel as free and spontaneous, it more often than not has me grinning. I miss my house, and the shops down the street with all that great food, and my frisbee team, and running by the river and all of the town and the city and the gorgeous beaches and country side…

Okay, take me back now please.

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