After 10 months spent in Asia, I’ve identified 10 major adjustments I foresee encountering upon my return to the states and the working world. I am both nervous and excited for what is to come. Through every challenge and new experience I have learned new things about myself and I know my next adventures will be no different. This list is an ongoing work in progress and a testament to the various opportunities for growth I have and will continue to encounter.
1. Not all of my meals will not cost <$2 and be made with fresh ingredients on the spot. In fact they will probably cost 10 times as much not including tax and tip.
2. Public transportation will not drop me off wherever and whenever I so desire even if it is not a designated stop; and a taxi ride will never again cost me $2 for a 90 minute ride.
3. It's polite and actually possible for all people dining to receive and eat our meals at the same time…so yes I have to wait. No longer will the one chef one meal at a time excuse work when I'm really hungry.
4. Most people around me will now not only understand what I am saying but also not be so enthusiastic to practice their English that they will come up with any excuse to talk to me…and doctors will most likely speak a language I understand aka no more use for newly practiced charade skills.
5. Everyone will not call me Mam and children on the streets will not run out of their houses to say hello–in fact they would probably get in trouble for talking to strangers.
6. If you did something stupid the night before and embarrassed yourself, the likelihood you'll see the person the next day is much higher than when you are backpacking. This can also mean though that crazy dance parties can and will be repeated with willing participants on various occasions.
7. I no longer have to scour for shady at best wifi connections, and hence bad wifi is no longer an excuse for putting off work. Therefore, Skype as a means of commutation will most likely fall to the wayside in exchange for old school forms of communication such as texting and calling…once I finally suck it up and buy a phone.
8. I am no longer the only thing I have to be responsible for (thanks Max for the much needed ego check ;)) back to the responsible and less egocentric way of life.
9. My pale white complexion will no longer be the envy of passerby's and my celebrity status and the frequency with which I pose in random pictures upon request will likely diminish. This also means though that I no longer have to check carefully that any beauty product I buy may have whitening gel in it.
10. The pace of the world around me will likely speed up at least 10 times so I better be ready for it. Schedules and fixed times should be adhered to and working on SE Asia time will be a thing of the past. This means that we am more likely to actually arrive somewhere when a timetable says I will, but if we don't you can bet more people will be actively complaining and yelling about it.
And off my flight goes…Wish me luck!