Sometimes when people return from overseas they have reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock is just culture shock that you experience when returning to your own culture. We have not had it that bad this summer, but I have noticed some aspects of American culture that the kids do not understand.
Church culture is a little different here than in China.
Liam and Eryn were a little confused as to why we had another worship service on Sunday night. In China we only meet once on Sunday.
In the past, my kids were pretty well behaved in Church. We usually sat near the front and they were expected to be quiet and well behaved. When they were little, we had times when we had to take them out, but for the most part they were pretty good. I think they have forgotten how to act. In China, we "have church" in our home. We sit on our couch and the kid are allowed to play quietly in their room during the adult Bible class. They are expected to participate in worship, but the atmosphere is more relaxed than here. So if you see my kids doing something strange or not acting like they should, please remember that it is really different here.
We have gone to the movies a couple of times here. We had to see Cars 2 and there was a movie shown the last night of Summer Jam at Clear Creek (VBS). My kids kept forgetting to be quiet and whisper if they needed to talk. It was a little funny, but I had to keep shushing them.
In China, it is more common for people to talk (and not necessarily whisper) during movies, speeches, etc.
Going to the bathroom is different here too. Eryn was very excited to see that the toilets were "western" and not squatty at the airport. I get a little embarrassed because I know that people can understand what Eryn says in the bathroom here. In China, if she comments on sounds, smells, or what I am wearing, I know that probably no one understands what she says. Here, they understand. Jon took her to the bathroom at a restaurant and she had a guy cracking up with her comments.
When we were waiting to board a plane in the San Francisco airport on the way home, Liam wanted to go to the bathroom. Jon was not with us, because he was getting us something to eat. I told Liam he would have to wait a couple of minutes. He told me that he knew where the bathroom was. He had no concept on the fact that he could get lost and he really has very little concept of "stranger danger". In China there are very few white kids. He really can't get that lost in a crowd. Also, no one is going to take him (probably). The criminal justice system is such that there is a deterrent for that sort of thing and because my kids look so different than everyone around us. I am not saying that we let our kids run around anywhere, but they do have a little more freedom than here. They do not understand when we suddenly shrink their boundaries. Even if we explain it to them, it is still an adjustment.
On another note, the kids love water fountains! They do not exist in China. They are much fun.
We went to eat Mexican food the other day. When we finished our meal, Jon went to pay the check. The kids and I were finishing our drinks and getting our things together. Then Liam noticed the tip that Jon put on the table. He grabbed it and started to bring it to Jon, he said,"Daddy you left your money on the table!" We put it back and then tried to explain why we did that.
Funny! Overall, the kids are doing very well. They have jumped back with their friends and are enjoying English television, time with grandparents, and eating "american" food.