In my opinion, reverse culture shock is the culture shock when someone went away from his country/hometown for a while then came back. Culture is such a broad term, but concisely, it is the way people live defined by surrounding environment, with certain values and beliefs. People get used to a certain way of thinking and assume others are weird and non-sense. Some people do not even tolerate such manners that go against their values.
Reality shock is another term that I came up while trying to figure out whether I’m suffering reverse culture shock. Trying to google it, I found a simple explanation for reality shock which is the difference between what is expected and what the real situation turns out to be. Hence, the suffer is at a lesser extent as compared to reverse culture shock
I stayed in Australia for 4 years, and am used to living alone. I enjoyed a lifestyle that I had to take care of myself for everything, from cooking food to cleaning the room. It’s such a small small stuff to mention. What I’m trying to get to is that, I know what I have to do and when I will do that. No one forces me to tidy up the room or wash the dishes or wash the clothes. I can be busy doing assignments and leave the mess for later. I would agree to have dinner with friends and stayed late, hang out and went home very late without worrying whether my parents have slept already. I would not have to sleep at my room if I don’t want to. Basically, I decided my own life!
Coming back home for just 6 months, it’s a dramatic change for me. Parents are still strict and they treat as if I’m still a high school kid. I have certain rules that I cannot break such as going home before 11 o’clock. I broke the rule few times and hence, few fights happened. Parents still have bad perceptions about people who go clubbing or even, just go home late. I was seen as a lazy bump, doing nothing and mess up the house even more. I was told to wash dishes, I was told to wash clothes and mop the floor, I was told to do XYZ, etc. Basically, parents expect me to follow the rules, which I have ‘forgotten’, and sometimes I don’t think those rules suit me any more. I know that rules but I don’t expect them to be present.
I remember (and I expect) to have a to-do list for every day after waking up. I remember (and I expect) to do tasks, and motivated and inspired to have more and more ideas coming up to my mind. I don’t expect to keep complaining every time when hanging out with friends at coffee shops. I remember (and I expect) to have people at the same stage of life (i.e. students worry about exam and part-time jobs and cooking, etc.). I expect to have the same working and studying habits even though I have returned home.
Life situation has CHANGED, through time and space, I could not keep the past though…
I understand the so-called culture here very well. People and friends in my hometown are still the same, and they seem to be quite happy with their life. I am comfortable with they way how people mostly hang out at coffee shop because they find no where to go. I am comfortable with the food that local people eat, the conversations that they share, the jokes that they tell, etc. I understand what I am expected to behave.
It is just the problem that I cannot accept that reality that I have to settle my life here. And consequently, I’m stressed out so much for not meeting my expectation – my ‘real’ reality. I’m stressed because of finding something ‘meaningful’ to do. Maybe I don’t have to try so hard, or maybe I should have tried harder. I’m just getting lost because I don’t know what I am expected is expected for me.
So, I think I have suffered what is called reality shock. It is when I keep the standard of expected reality and not try hard enough to adapt with the real reality. With culture shock, people may help you out but with reality shock, it’s the matter of overcoming the self.
And I wonder, is it just me suffering that problem?