Life Lately: The “In-Between”
~ I know this isn’t my usual kind of…
~ Photography by the talented Hannah Marlin (extra thanks to Hannah for collaborating the week of her brother’s wedding!) ~
~ Today I wanted to offer a little “endless summer” look and also give a little update about the “reverse culture shock”! First of all, this white one-shoulder ruffle top is seriously the bomb. It’s thick enough to give it structure if you wear it without tucking it in, but it has enough movement for a sloppy tuck (my go-to). I could totally also see it with skinny jeans OR a white-on-white ensemble (with bright earrings and accessories). It’s also on sale right now and available in all sizes, so make sure to grab it before it sells out! These seersucker shorts have served me well now for 2 summers, and I honestly think you cannot go wrong! I get compliments from every age group on them. To give the outfit a pop of color and make it a bit more “me,” I added these NEON yellow tassel earrings by my good friend Andrea. It’s weird how neon yellow is basically a neutral and goes with everything I own…
On the personal side of things, this past Sunday marked 3 weeks that I’ve been home in the US, and time has totally flown by. Everyone asks, a little concerned, how I’m doing now that I’ve moved back to the states. There’s definitely been some reverse culture shock, although, I would say that 70% of the time it’s been more like “culture joy”! I was right to keep myself busy these past 3 weeks and distract myself with seeing all those I love. It really does feel like pure joy seeing everyone again, being back, and not feeling like I’ll run out of time.
I’m mostly feeling the “culture joy” over super ordinary things…like grocery shopping (there’s so much to choose from!), or going to Wallgreens (I CAN READ ALL THE LABELS), or stopping at Starbucks (WHAT DO I ORDER). *note: these things are taking me a very long time and I’ve never been so indecisive before. Even bigger things that used to be a huge part of my life that I didn’t realize I missed so much…like taking a power yoga class with other students vs. by myself in my flat, driving my car, or talking to everyone IN REAL TIME now that we are on the same time zone!
Being a blogger in the USA is A LOT EASIER, too. Trust me. Here, I am able to go into a favorite store and touch and try on the product before featuring it on the blog, knowing that all of you can shop it immediately (those stores just didn’t exist in Milan). Also, I don’t need to set my alarm for 4AM anymore to post on instagram. So that’s pretty great!
It’s also nice to be understood. “Culture joy” also means being able to speak to strangers and strike up a conversation wherever I go (and I’ve been kind of a gypsy these past few weeks). These are the biggest day to day things, but I could think of a million more “culture joy” moments…most of them are tiny but make me SO happy.
As for the CULTURE SHOCK. Mamma Mia! Everyone expects you to freak out a little and have a big story. I’m happy to report that the shocks have been minimal and are mostly hysterical. Like…I can’t help but greet everyone with 2 kisses (1 on each cheek) and to 100% of Americans, this is bizarre and there’s been a few awkward almost-lip-kisses in there. I feel less like a celebrity and get less stares and special treatment for being blonde and
am totally ok with it adjusting to being a normal girl again. I still feel like my English isn’t up to where it was when I left, and I actually now have to THINK and be WITTY when I text someone that I like (gosh the effort)….I joke, but it’s true. It’s been over 3 weeks and I still feel off kilter when it comes to sleep and my body. Adjusting back to “American food” has done horrible things to me. There’s a million times more preservatives & GMOs in every little thing and my stomach and my skin hates me for it. This week I’m really making a push to eat CLEAN (it’s my only shot!). I’ve also had a few nights where I wake up on Italian time (one of them was last night and I was WIDE AWAKE at 2:30AM). I feel more tired and less like my energetic self. Lastly, for someone who was definitely NOT fluent in Italian, it’s pretty silly that it still pops out of my mouth before I even realize it. If I’m in a rush and someone is in the way, a “PERMESSO” will fly out. There’s been some “grazie mille” and “no lo so” moments in the mix as well. Also, despite taking 15 years of Spanish, I COULD NOT speak to our Spanish-speaking Uber driver in anything but Italian. THAT happened.
I think the best “shock” and “joy” of re-immersing into American culture has been the change in my friends. I had heard from numerous adults older than me who once lived abroad that I would come back to find that nothing had changed with all my friends and that that fact alone would make me a little sad. WRONG! If your twenties are the “Defining Decade,” then 28 was definitely THE defining year for my friends. Each of them seem to have taken this year to really work on bettering themselves. I love my friends unconditionally and loved them before I left, but I feel like I came back to more mature and more self-aware friends filled with a newfound peace and wisdom (seriously). There are also the obvious things like friends meeting their “person,” falling in love, getting married & having babies…those are all pretty wonderful things, too, by the way. Each one of my friends seem to have leaped forward in wonderful ways this year, and I am so glad to be back here with them 🙂
I worry that there is still more “shock” to set in…but hopefully by the time it does, I will be busy decorating a new apartment in a new city (I’ve started Pinning inspiration!), with my mind fully on my new job 🙂
Gratefully with love,