Friday, April 28, 2006

The Storm Has Passed

by Skald

As many no doubt noticed, I was recently hit by a powerful wave of reverse culture shock. The transition back to San Francisco has generally been easier than past returns to the States (to Georgia). San Francisco is an international city with a very large Asian population, so in many respects I didnt feel like I was completely in America.

However, all sorts of American cultural encounters have slowly built up... and about a month ago... Wham! I found myself in a REALLY foul mood. Two months of incessant rain didnt help matters. Nor does the news I pick up about Iraq, try as I might to avoid too much of it. Add the stress of moving to a new city... and well, the results werent pretty.

Im happy to say the worst seems to have passed. The sun is once more shining in San Francisco, my best friend is moving here today, the teaching gig is going amazingly well (not withstanding the usual bullshit that goes with all jobs), and Im slowly adjusting to some aspects of American culture again.

Of course Ill never adjust to the vulgarity or runaway capitalism, nor do I want to. But this city seems to have its fair share of folks who dont buy into all that... I finally connected with some last night at an art showing (a very trippy & interesting experience... for another time).

And finally, today, I got an internet connection in my apartment.. .which will open opportunities for teaching English over the internet (as a freelancer).

Its funny. When I talk to most travelers... especially first time travelers.. they always worry about the culture shock they'll experience in the new country they are visiting. That has never been a problem for me.

For me, its always the return that is brutal. But the worst seems to be over.


tom said...

I had the same trouble after coming back from honduras (after a month spent there). Everyone looked so overfed and not happy. TV screens were sickening. I just wanted to see all my family and friends... and then go back.

Anonymous said...

Same here... I was living in Japan which is as oppressive (and moreso in some ways), however the peopel there do eat much better, you see all kinds of people (especially older women) doing errands on bicycles, and the price taken in the culture was actually heartening. Far from blind patriotism, it was an earned respect for senses of morality and aesthetics which are thousands of years old. America has nothing like that saved for some warped protestant work ethics and highly contaminated Christianity.

I still think America is a good contender for setting up a decent, honest lifestyle, and you are right that SF is a good place to start. I hope there is still time for some hobopoets to plant lifestyle seeds in various areas and slowly demonstrate the benefits of a more sane way of living.