We’ve all heard of culture shock – the emotional difficulties that come hand in hand with immersing oneself into another culture. But over the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing something known as reverse culture shock – the emotional difficulties of returning home from abroad, and in my case - returning home from the greatest city in the world, Florence, Italy.
Just as studying abroad demanded many lifestyle changes, so has returning home. Without even realizing it, I had developed new habits, new values and a new way of thinking during my four months abroad. And just as I had gotten used to the slow, peaceful Italian lifestyle, I was thrown into this whole new-to-me culture of New York City. I finally have cell phone service 24/7, everyone speaks English, I can use the dollar again as opposed to the euro, grocery stores are five times the size of those in Florence and Starbucks - oh how I’ve missed you!
Everything, I mean everything, overwhelmed me upon arriving in NYC. There are people everywhere and they are always in a rush. I’m seeing cars, taxis, subways and buses instead of mopeds. Honestly, I hated the city at first. The lifestyle here is a complete 180 degree flip from being in Florence. I could not walk to all of my destinations within 20 minutes, Gusta Pizza isn’t readily available, my Instagram game has severely suffered and the luxury of extremely cheap and delicious wine is not right outside my doorstep. Naturally I slumped into a post-abroad depression. But just recently I began to notice this city’s beauty and exquisiteness and suddenly I began to fall in love with a new city all over again.
The local cafés and restaurants, the high-energy nightlife, the talented street performers, the amazing views from rooftops, the many parks and the mere spectacle of being in one of the largest cities in the world has unexpectedly and completely intrigued me. There’s something new and amazing around every corner and I plan to take it all in during the 12 weeks I have in this city. With a list of things to do, restaurants to hit, bars to explore and shopping that needs to be done – I’m ready for all you have to offer - New York City.