Returning to the states one frigid Romanian morning brought tears and sadness. I became close-knit with my host family, friends, and the Romanian culture that I did not want to go back home. Though all good things have to reach some sort of end, right?
The combined 12-hour plane flights brought a mixture of excitement and reluctance for the journey home, though with flying through 10 time-zones and staying up a full day, the culture shock did not kick in until a couple of weeks after coming back.
These Americans are independent, self-centered, and obnoxious. Everywhere I went, they were loud and their conversations centered around intellectual, philosophical topics. To be honest, I felt ashamed, reflecting on the time before venturing to Romania and identifying as one of these Americans. The sense of community I once felt in Romania vanished, accompanying the weight of a godless society compared to Romania’s Eastern Orthodox influence. Looking into reversal culture shock, I’m shifting between frustration, anger, loneliness and reintegrating my experiences abroad in everyday life. There are periods where my heart feels heavy and longs for the close community in Romania. More recently, I’ve been researching international mission organizations to work for in the future. The lens I view life with is sharper, being able to tell Western, Americanized ideologies from Eastern.
The transition from frustration to integration has looked like becoming more open-minded during discussions as well as sharing experiences working with Word Made Flesh Romania, perspectives on poverty, and history of the effects of communism on ex-communist countries. It also looks like more traveling, creating new communities at home, and cooking traditional Romanian dishes to share.
Eventually, I would like to continue pursuing trauma counseling with a mission organization in the future, but after graduation, I plan on taking time off to process all experiences while study abroad as well as doing personal research on trauma, psychology, and counseling. I also intend to continue looking into other mission organizations to pursue soon.
As for Romania, this may not be a permanent goodbye. My love for traveling has only increased and I would like to go back to travel through Europe, eventually trotting the globe.