The holidays is one of my favorite times of the year. Time to gather with friends and family for lots of celebrations, eating, drinking, and so on. When I left my home state of Michigan after collage to travel throughout the U.S., the holidays started to mean something different. Since I wasn’t around to see everyone on a regular basis, it added to the excitement.
Now, rather than living a few states away from my family, I literally live on the opposite side of the globe. I joked with my mom that if I tried to move any farther away, I’d actually get closer! Being away from home over the years has made me appreciate my family, my friends and my home more. Now that I am closing in on 1 year living in another country and another culture, going home has changed for me all over again.
There are things I appreciate that I forgot or never new I did. Things like owning/driving a car, good beer, snow, Christmas lights, open spaces, a slower pace of life, being more excited to give gifts rather than receive… and you get the idea. There are also things I’ve begun to notice that really bothered me that I didn’t realize before. TV shows SUCK! I was newly reminded why I have not owned a TV for nearly a decade. The news is depressing. Always something about who was shot and/or killed, who ran who over, how businesses and the government are screwing the people, etc. Where’s all the positive nice news? Which brings me to my next comment: people were more negative and superficial than I remember. People would get angry at the most trivial things. I also thought my everyone I knew would be more interested to hear about my time living in Hong Kong but the top 2 questions I was asked was “How’s the weather over there” and “What is the crime rate like”? I might get 1 other random question and then the topic would turn to (American) football or what the neighbors did yesterday.
Now that I’m back in Hong Kong, I feel like I had a bigger culture shock going home to America than I did moving here. The feeling is hard to describe. Ultimately, living abroad has given me many new perspectives on the world. I think everyone should experience these perspectives at least once. Step out of the world you know to learn something new and look back at your world from another angle. You’ll be able to see, realize and appreciate your life in a new light.