Culture Shock: What to Expect When Coming Back from Thailand
It’s been about 36 hours now since I’ve returned home from my two and a half week trip to Thailand. Things went rather well, and I’ll have plenty more to say about it later. However, I thought I’d do something fun and talk about the culture shock of returning to the U.S. Certainly, two and a half weeks isn’t long enough to develop real culture shock. However, it is long enough to get used to some of the various aspects of Thailand and be slightly surprised to return to life back in the States.
So, without further laborious ado, here are five things that might be a bit of a shock after coming back from Thailand.
Driving on the Right (Wrong) Side of the Road
Needless to say, it was quite a shock to me to discover that Thailand people drove on the wrong (left) side of the wrong. However, after spending hours traveling around in vans and cars, I became used to watching the driver be on the opposite side of the vehicle. Today, when I sat down in my car for the first time, it felt a bit incorrect.
Being Able to Pay With Credit Card
Like many nations outside of the U.S., Thailand doesn’t really accept credit cards in most places. That meant I always had to have a wad of cash in hand, whether I was shopping at a street market or dining in a restaurant. In the U.S., I rarely carry cash because I find it cumbersome. So imagine my surprise when I realized I could just pull out my credit card earlier this evening to pay my bar tab (though luckily Drew got it for me).
Having Toilet Paper in Restrooms
Foreign bathrooms are always somewhat intriguing to me. Each country seems to have its own kind of toilet and bathroom customs. Naturally, Thailand didn’t disappoint. Well actually, it did. You see, Thailand bathrooms often lack toilet paper, as Thai people simply spray themselves off with a hose when they’re done. It was such a relief to go to a public bathroom today and not have to dig through my purse to find a spare tissue or napkin to use.
Having Hot Water
It’s no surprise that Thailand is a hot country. Perhaps because of that, most Thai showers don’t have very hot water. They all seemed to come with an individual water heater for the shower head, which usually got to lukewarm at best. It was a relief to stand in my home shower and crank up the heat.
Drinking the Water from the Tap
Thai water isn’t quite as clean as water in the U.S., so it was a big no-no to drink out of the tap at any point during the trip. We ended up heading to 7 Eleven to buy water bottles several times a day to quench our thirst. That’s all a thing of the past now, as I can drink out of my home faucet until my heart’s content.
There you have it – the five things that shocked me most about coming back from Thailand. Granted, I was only there on a vacation, so none of these things were truly shocking. However, for people living abroad as an expat, these things will definitely be more prevalent upon their return to the homeland.