What Is Normal Any More? : Reverse Culture Shock

Shabu-Shabu/Hot pot

This past weekend, I realized that I had been missing something that I didn’t realize was missing. I have written about reverse culture shock before but this weekend it really hit me. I went on a day trip with a few international students. We went to the Asian district and had some….what I call Shabu Shabu (It was one of my last meals in Korea but is actually from Mongolia.) here they call it Hot Pot…I could be wrong about that. That might actually be the name of a restaurant.

Either way it felt so normal to be in a crowded restaurant, sharing food strange food, and not fully understanding what was being said in the foreign language around you.

It's as though they thought about what all is kinda Korean and put it all in one pot.
It’s as though they thought about what all is kinda Korean and put it all in one pot.

Someone came up to me and asked about how Korea compared to the loudness of the restaurant and to be honest until that point I had not realized it was not normal (I haven’t spent a lot of time in restaurants since I have been back). I then realized, “WOW! This isn’t normal?!” It isn’t normal that I, a very white girl, was feeling so comfortable and at home in Seattle’s Chinatown.

I loved it.
I loved having to ask questions about what certain foods were, and how to eat certain strange things. I loved not understanding what everyone around me was saying. I loved that it was loud, crowded, and simply crazy.


I am happy to be back in the United States. I am adjusting and enjoying how easy life can be when you can speak the language. However, I discovered this weekend that I really do miss, not just the people, but the environment that I experienced in Korea.

I’ll be visiting the international districted of Seattle more, I think. 🙂

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