I don't think I'm actually going through culture shock ,but there are some funny experiences in coming back to the States. I think I'm getting more used to changing cultures and this trip back has been easy so far, probably mostly because I'm not doing much. I don't know anyone here except for my sister and brother-in-law, so all I've really been doing is reading and doing what they do.
There are still a few things to get used to in coming back. At first it was just having to think about having to put the toilet paper in the toilet instead of the trash can. (Chinese sewage generally can't handle toilet paper.) I think I'm used to that now, but I still can't get used to the air conditioner. They say it's the hottest August on record for Kentucky and I hear people talking about it everywhere, but it feels downright cold to me because I spend most of the day inside where rooms are frigid. My sister thinks I'm crazy. I might well be. Today we went into Lowe's and I was so happy to go back outside and feel the warm sun. At home, I'm usually under a blanket and at night I'm sleeping under a pretty heavy comforter even though the highs outside are hitting 100 during the day.
There's the normal shock of how much is available at grocery stores. That always gets me the first few times. I am doing better about responding this time though, I think. In the past I've been over-excited to buy all the stuff we can't get there. This time my reaction is more often "you mean people actually buy that?" Today I saw frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the frozen foods section at Super Wal-Mart. They were crustless, but come on! I think it might take more effort to defrost one of those than make your own.
Yesterday, my brother-in-law was about to throw away a Ziploc bag. I stopped him and told him I'd wash it. He said he never would have thought to do such a thing. I think I started doing that after I lived in Romania and watched the Americans I lived with there do it.
Last week my sister and brother-in-law had their last baby care class to go to. We ate dinner together at a mall and they left me there to wander while they went to their class. I was looking around at Bath and Body Works when I heard some people talking behind me. The first thought that went through my head was "They're speaking English! I wonder if I know them." Immediately after that, I realized that I was in America so I probably didn't know them.