The “Returning Home” Shock – Harry Sanderson

It feels almost surreal to be writing this final blog post. As our time in Morocco has already come to an end, I am sitting on my bed back at home feeling more of a culture shock than when I initially arrived in Morocco.

If I were to characterize my experience in Morocco, I would describe it as a roller coaster. It was an unforgettable adventure that introduced me to countless new ideas, foods, experiences, and so much more. However, at the same time, it was exhausting, at-times stressful, and a little overwhelming. That being said, I fully expected it to go that way. I knew Morocco would be stressful and overwhelming, I knew that I would learn a lot and experience dozens of new things. What I didn’t expect was that I would get so accustomed to the way of life in Morocco that I felt strange and uncomfortable being back in a comfortable place like my home.

As I am back with my daily comforts that I have grown so used to not having, I appreciate them so much more. It feels great having normal resources that before Morocco I didn’t even think twice about. I found myself asking my family: “the tap water is okay to drink right? I won’t get sick?” or even having to pause to remind myself to say thank you in my normal language – its English – come on Harry, you know that.

Either way, while these actions may seem trivial, it feels really confusing to have to remind yourself that you no longer have to think about certain aspects of your life that you constantly thought about for six weeks. Leaving home earlier today, I panicked for a minute because I didn’t have any money in my wallet for a taxi ride. Then, I came to my senses and got into my grandfather’s car to drive away. Also, all day, my family has wondered where I have been. I’ve been hidden away in my bedroom because I haven’t gotten used to the fact that no, I am no longer intruding on a stranger’s home. I’m in my own house.

So, before the Moroccan trip, every orientation and person who spoke with me warned me of the culture shock as soon as I would arrive in Morocco. I mentally prepared myself so much for it that, in the end, it was nowhere near as bad as people made it out to be. However, I had no idea how weird it would be to leave Morocco and go back to my usual life. Morocco was unbelievable and incredible. It was one of the most memorable trips I have ever been on in my life. I completely recommend anyone interested in doing this trip to bite the bullet and take the risk. However, I warn everyone to prepare to feel the “returning home” shock.

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