The Mini Re-Entry: How to Return to America After Leaving

I’ve been an international traveler for more than twenty years.  During college I lived in Europe for a time, having already visited there on a number of occasions during high school.  Then, after my husband and I got married and had our kids, we moved our family to South Asia, where we lived for three years.

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Since returning to the States, we’ve continued to head back overseas for short stints.  Between the two of us we’ve been to Malaysia, West Africa, East Africa, and South America.  In June we’ll go back to Africa, this time together.

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I’m gearing up for the trip in the usual ways.  But having just returned from Paraguay in March, I’m already feeling tired, and not because of jet lag.  It’s something harder to explain: I’m preparing myself for reverse culture shock–again.

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I experienced it in 2012, of course, when we returned to America after living in India. But I feel it now, too, every time my plane touches down in the U.S. after carrying me across the ocean.  It’s weird and silly seeming because, these days, I’m only ever gone for a couple of weeks or so.

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But it’s real.

Today I came across a blog post about this strange traveler’s phenomenon.  I don’t know if you’re a globe-trotter, or if you’re friends with, or family to, people who are.  If so, this article is worth the read–either for personal help in coping with RCS, or for help in supporting someone you love who deals with it.

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2 thoughts on “The Mini Re-Entry: How to Return to America After Leaving

  1. Natasha says:

    Hi Hannah,

    I found your blog after you left a comment at simple homeschool. I like what you have to say about homeschooling outside of America, especially since my family and I are living in West Africa, and i am trying to homeschool my kids. I know our situation is different from most American homeschoolers who have 4-h, neighborhoods, and other kinds of supportive networks. I’m not really worried about socialization (our children are only 2, 4, and 6), but I have to admit we’re pretty isolated, and my husband is pretty concerned. What can I do to make this situation better? Right now I capitalize on outings and we work on grace and etiquette around the house and in public, but I wonder if there’s more I could be doing. Any words of advice? Thanks!

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    • This is tricky, Natasha, I’ll admit. When we moved overseas, our kids were almost five, six and a half, and seven and a half. They were able to play with neighborhood kids and (once in a great while) other expat kids. But mostly they hung out with the kid living in our building and each other. If we go back overseas again while they’re under our roof, we’ll probably put them in an international school simply because of the built-in social factor. If we stay in the States we may continue to homeschool the whole way through. The long and short of it is, there are no easy answers. But the life your kids are currently living is an amazing one. Remember that.

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