One can know that reverse culture shock will happen, but then there's actually experiencing it. Right now it is an illusive whirlwind of thoughts and emotions and physical reactions...refusing to be captured, held still, nor properly seen and understood.
There is no rushing this process, this space of in between. So I am doing my best to just breathe, and allow this new environment and I to come to some terms of understanding that will work for both of us. I'm not quite sure yet how that's going to work out.
Who knew that warmed toilet seats in a public restroom in Japan with 4 different types of automated flush type options depending on your cultural and personal preference could bring such a sense of overwhelm?
In my mind, I keep seeing this experience at the public toilet juxtaposed with my experience of going to the post office in Nepal the day before I flew to send a few things home to myself.
At the main post office in Nepal, when you go in to send something, a man goes through your things to make sure everything is good to send (customs).
Then you hand your package to someone who takes white cotton material and hand sews your package closed.
At this point a woman hands you a thick, black, permanent marker so that you can write your address on the now beautifully stitched cotton material. This is her job, and the only thing that she will do all day. And likely every day.
To the right of the woman with the black pen (everyone is organized in a row so that you are helped by one person and then the next) sits a man in the corner carefully tending to a flame.
After receiving my package, he takes his wax stick, places it in the flame, and allows it to melt. The melted, red wax is used to seal the seams. He is careful, focused, present. I am transported back to times when people wrote handwritten letters with quill pens and sealed the letter with their wax emblem.
At the end, I have been helped, very personally, by a total of 8 people. It has taken an hour and a half, and I have a beautifully wrapped gift to send to myself. This is as official as it gets in Nepal.
And....aren't my brother and his girlfriend, Chiaki, cute? (yes, my thoughts jump these days at random between the U.S., Japan, Nepal, Canada, and back to Nepal, Japan, the U.S...)
There was a lot of rain in Japan when I was there. A deluge of water, in general. A welcome experience after the dryness of the sun and dust of the last few months in Nepal.
Now to spend my last Canadian coins before flying back to the U.S...where I re-create home and figure out how to tie all the threads of my experience together.