In case you missed my second attempt at guest posting over at Jocelyn’s Speaking of China, where I disclose advice on repatriation:
Staying connected to China, however you see fit. I read Chinese several times a week, picking up children’s books, written in Chinese, from the public library. The librarian bequeathed a stack of books to me, saying the library had no room or real need for them. Among them was Eric CarIe’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a children’s story I had a copy of and had my sister purchased for one of my nephews. I also read literature by Chinese authors, in translation of course, or books, fiction and nonfiction alike, interweaving China into their narratives. Keeping up with your spoken Chinese, even if, like me, you are merely conversational, proves as yet another way to stay connected. Talk to your in-laws, even if saying hello, how are you, and wishing them good health is all you can muster. Nag your husband to keep in touch with his family, friends, and acquaintances; it is easy and free to connect on WeChat. Watch Chinese films and TV shows together (we fawned over Jia Zhangke films and Hunan TV’s 爸爸去哪儿第三季…kudos to readers who uncover why 😉 ), partake in Chinese chess 象棋, mahjong 麻将, and Chinese card games. Find your area’s most authentic Chinese restaurant, frequent it, making sure to use the visit as a chance to practice Chinese with people other than your spouse.
China is Communist, right? How was it? Don’t they eat dog, there? Did you eat dog? China’s pretty backwards isn’t it? Why doesn’t China work towards modernizing like Japan? Oh, wow, where did you live…Beijing or Shanghai? Oh, the stock market in China is really a mess as of late..what’s up with that?
If you’ve ever studied, lived, or worked abroad, moving back, whether that be to your school, home or a new location in the country you lived in prior to your overseas adventure, you likely experienced what I’m about to discuss. Reverse culture shock is aptly put as feelings of readjustment, reentry, and figuring out where the old and new you fit into the larger social scheme. Some of us may revert to our old ways while others try to find a balance between previous and present habits, incorporating the good we acquired while abroad.