Greetings from the U.S. of A. This is my third summer back in the motherland, and for once, I was able to celebrate the 4th of July in all of its smoky, sparkling, fiery glory. The first leg of our whirlwind journey took place at my grandma’s house in the country, complete with family, sweltering heat, a DIY frisbee golf course, and way too much food.
My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in the nearby town of Yoder, a tiny but thriving Amish community. My dad and stepmom surprised us by renting out a chicken-coop-turned-Airbnb for the night and I think it might be the cutest place we’ve ever stayed.
I visited my sister in Kansas City, where I tried some amazing coffee shops, hung out at a great arcade bar, read books by the pool, and watched some old childhood favorites on Netflix.
I discovered a board game cafe in Wichita, tried my hand at some marketing for my mom’s boutique in Manhattan, relaxed at my grandpa’s lake house, and circled back to the beginning to pack it all up and say goodbye.
It was all really great, but something hit me this summer: I feel more like an outsider in my own culture than I ever have. Perhaps it’s just the stress of the last year or a symptom of the ever-rising political tension. As great as it is to be home with friends and family, I’m realizing more and more each year that it feels less like home. I guess reverse culture shock rears its head at every expat now and again.
Until next time, America!