July 1, 2010

An update from Outer Space

No, I haven't gone on an adventure to Mars, but it sure feels like it.

I seem to have left my brain in Cambodia and my heart in Tokyo. I feel like I'm living in a strange dream world where I recognize everything and I can read all the signs and I can eavsdrop on people in restaurants, but I'm not really understanding anything. I believe this is what they call "reverse culture shock." It's powerful, disconnecting and a little revolting. For example, I thought the Japanese TV shows were lacking a certain something; they were boring. When I returned to American TV, the focus on sex and violence really shocked me. Even the country music stars are wearing corsets and mini-skirts while they sing about domestic abuse and adultery. I guess I never noticed what was making our TV "interesting".

Besides my fear of American television, I think I'm terrified of what's next for me. I always like to have a plan. A precise plan with steps and directions toward a goal. Normally, I've figured out the next mission before I complete the current, but this time is different. I've landed on my butt in the middle of my parents' basement with no idea what I'm going to do next.

What do you do after volunteering in Cambodia?

With my job and school prospects currently at a standstill, I'm working with my blog posts from Cambodia. It's strange to read through them and relive some of those moments of horror that seem totally insignificant now, or the days that really changed my experience for the better. My writing from Cambodia is comforting to me as I float in Outer Space, searching for the next adventure.