“Just know you’re not alone 'Cause I’m going to make this place your home”
We’ve all heard of culture shock, but how many can relate to ‘reverse culture shock”? A phenomenon that speaks to a global cosmopolitan’s challenges when they return to what once was their so-called home, after a long stint abroad. Having coached many relocating executives on this re-integration and transitory phase, and being able to relate personally, this is much more of an identity crisis than a transition. Not being able to connect to those with whom we once closely identified to, to feel the urge to either censor our new reality or revert to topics of conversation that we might find ‘stagnant or trivial’ simply to fit in, can certainly conflict and challenge our sense of ‘who we are and where we belong? So does a global cosmopolitan ever actually reintegrate fully and re-plant roots? This article suggests that while re-settling into your so-called homeland may seem challenging, perhaps a new approach and mindset may serve this pursuit better? What I find comforting is the growing number of people who relate to the disheartening struggle of feeling left out while at the same time wanting to belong, all the while processing our inner confusion, and other people's comments about our accent, appearance, and overall attitude.
So take it from someone who is no longer Indian 'enough' (left my homeland at the age of 8), American enough, and was never really ever going to be seen as Spanish, English, Nigerian or Chinese 'enough' to connect either of these pronouns to my identity. So where is home for me? Somewhat cliche, but home is where the heart is: where my family is....where what I do matters....where I have a sense of community and for the immediate future that home is in Hong Kong.