This post was inspired by Jennipal's writing on her lamentations of being married and living back in Canada. It made me understand more what I have already come to realize, and that is that our hometowns are precious. This is something I thought of when I experienced "reverse culture shock" the first few weeks being back home.
I came to realize that there is so much which has to go right and be put together to make this tiny dot on the map function. Out here there is still a lot of nature, but that is something you expect from a small town in the mountains. The population is low and this makes for less crowded lines at the supermarket, more open space and generally a friendly community. But the "preciousness" of which I am talking about is really hard to describe. It's that feeling of knowing you are home and at the same time feeling like you can never take it with you. This is because what I call home is a living place that is growing and deconstructing all at the same time. I could take with me pictures or postcards but I can never take the town and it's people.
Living in South Korea I know this feeling very well, because although every little micro city has supermarkets, roads, sidewalks and basically everything that is modern it isn't the same place as what I call home. What I call home exists because the people who do what they do in it make it exist.
Now I hope I haven't blabbered on here too much, and that you are starting to see my point. Jennipal was talking about how her town is boring and she yearns to get out there. But she is just at the beginning of starting a life in Canada with her husband and so can't really pack it all up for a year in a different country.
My suggestion to Jennipal was to treat her surroundings like she would if she were abroad. Figure out what makes Regina unique. I let her know that she could explore her surroundings just in the same way as if she were abroad, because there are people out there who know nothing about it. Just like I know nothing about what the supermarkets or street stalls are like in some place in India, I don't know what they are like in Regina, Canada.
I too can relate to Jennipal, however and feel that without being in a new place and culture there is nothing really to report on. Who wants to know what I bought at the supermarket, which I went to by car and there was no one along the way who pointed at me and said, "foreigner!"
So my advice to anybody who has replanted themselves back in their home country from years of travel or living abroad is this. Take that same energy and use it as a way to delve into your surroundings and get to know the people and places in your local area. Explore your area with the same passion as you would explore a backstreet in Phuket, Thailand. And if you find it all to be too generic and full of strip malls, well reflect on that and see if you can find some local run-down shack selling canned pickles. You never know!