My first moment of reverse culture shock came rather quickly. It happened the same day I arrived in California. After the hour and a half long drive home from LAX, I really had to pee. I groggily went to my bathroom, and took care of business. It was after that the culture shock occurred.
I went to flush the toilet, and something was wrong. There was nothing on the top for me to pull or push. “How do I….” I began to think, when I almost immediately remembered that in America, the flush is on the side of the toilet.
Most of the big differences I was mentally prepared for. I knew I would be carded again and that the cars are bigger here. It was the smaller stuff that crept up on me unexpectedly; the weight of a coke can; how awkward it felt ending a text conversation without “bisous.”
I think what made it so weird is that most things were still the same at home. I would often quickly remember, “oh right, that’s how we do things here.” It wasn’t my home that had changed. I had changed.
Despite feeling ever so American the entire time I was living in Lille, I now felt entirely too French. It would seem I am no longer 100% either way.