I've been Stateside since August 4th. It's the first time I've returned to the USA since 2010. It was a bit of a shock in how surprisingly easy it was to revert to American culture. I was afraid I would bow to everyone and constantly tell them I was sorry. I had expected to feel extremely out of place, but when I walked into my family's house the night of August 4th after a 24 hour journey across the world, I immediately felt at home. The only shocks I've had really have more to do with adjusting to the indifference that people show each other (as well as outright rudeness), especially at restaurants or places I've come to expect higher levels of coddling and comfort. I seem to not be able to interact correctly with servers or cashiers, and while this behavior is subtle, these individuals I'm interacting with notice it. But overall, I haven't felt too much overt weirdness.
Actually, I was so happy to be able to eat my first meal Stateside in the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport without worrying what was in it. I was still kind of nervous about eating anything until about a week after I arrived. I have been eating well and feeling great every day since I arrived. A part of me is not looking forward to returning to Japan, mainly because of the food related issues there. But I already promised my return and left all of my belongings, so I can't bail out now. That being said, everyone says I look great and that Japan has treated me well, so I guess things aren't as bad as they feel...?
Since August 4th, I've traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, New York City and now Florida. It's been a whirlwind tour. I loved Pittsburgh, though I don't think I could live there permanently. I love NYC still, but there is this huge wound there for me. It took a few days of hanging out in NYC to actually feel that wound open up again. I was out with a good friend of mine and we had just seen Smuin Ballet at the Joyce (where they performed to "Oh, Inverted World" by The Shins). My friend and I had decided to get a drink and halfway into my peach-infused vodka I started to cry about the things I didn't achieve or didn't have (that my other friends seemed to have achieved or now had). How embarrassing. Not a pretty sight.
I have been considering what I am going to do after this upcoming year and I have some plans. I will probably take some time to travel through mainland Japan before I leave Japan and if I have enough money, I may try to see another Asian country. As for post-Asia plans, I have been considering going back to school as well as looking for employment in Europe. I will probably pursue both ventures and see what comes back. I really do want to write full time and work on film/performance work. I wouldn't mind doing this in Europe (if I could afford it). But, I also would be fine with living in the USA again.