Going along that same track of trying to figure out what next to do with my life, I have been thinking a lot lately about what am I going to be like when I return to the US.
I mean, the 2008 model of Löki has left the building. For that matter, so has the 2009 and 2010 models.
Obviously, so has everyone else. That is the only constant in life: change. It is just, I know (and after my brief exposure in the US) I am going to surprise the pants of some people. I feel mostly the same as when my cousin dropped me off in Philadelphia, but I also know that some things have undergone dramatic shifts.
This is the same for every PCV out there. Peace Corps will talk and talk your socks off about re-adjustment and what to expect. Of course, I got a closer preview as my Az6 friends all left in December and have been re-adjusting for the last six months.
It doesn't sound easy.
It actually sounds harder than adjusting to Azerbaijan.
I mean, think about it. After two years away, you return to the land of milk and disposable income. Instead of one type of juice and tomatoes whenever the store owner harvests their garden, you have a gigantic Fred Meyers stocked full of items you forgot existed.
Besides all that, half the people you run into have no idea you were away and if they did, they have no idea what to say, so they just switch to a familiar topic instead of allowing you to pontificate about your last 27 months. You are no longer the American and in most cases, you are much less interesting than your sister's new baby.
There really is nothing that can be done about it either. I mean, I could tell you (friends and family readers) to listen to your PCV, allow them to freak out, ground them when you can, and help them ease into re-adjustment with bacon and beer...
But I am not even sure those things will work. I just expect a rocky 6 months...bare with us all.