They say reverse culture shock has four stages; disengagement, honeymoon phase, irritability and depression, Readjustment and adaptation. Disengagement, beginning to think about returning home, realizing you have to say goodbye, not understanding your own emotions or able to look back and reflect on experiences. Honeymoon phase, excitement to return home, once home you do everything and eat everything you missed while abroad, feeling fascination and excitement of getting back into the normal routine and catching up with everyone you missed. Irritability and depression, realizing home isn’t what the excitement turned it out to be, missing being abroad, the friends you made and experiences you had. Readjustment and adaptation, gradual and where you finally feel like home is the place you belong, are able to connect with your feelings and reflect on experiences you had, set new goals in life and connecting international experiences with those in the United States
As I finish off the last few days I have in the Galapagos, I can’t really pinpoint how I feel. I am excited to go home and leave the islands, but at the same time I am not. I can’t put into words or even thoughts about what I feel. It’s just so hard to explain because I kind of feel just nothing…I have only two full days left on the islands, and a half day in Quito before I head back to the states. It’s a very stressful week because I have two days to pack, write a paper and presentation for my last class and study/take a final while all trying to enjoy my last few days here.
For this last class TMRII (techniques in marine research 2) we spent the very last weekend in Santa Cruz doing dive charters. I got to dive at Beagle Rocks, Daphne Minor and Santa Fe. It was a great way to end the weekend and the last of my diving in the Galapagos… for now at least. During my dives I got to experience swimming with the reef fish, turtles, sea lions and sharks for my last time. Best of all at my dive during Beagle we saw a school of Mobula Rays and an Oceanic Manta Ray off in the distance! It was crazy, and again a great way to end my time here on the islands. I am going to miss this place a lot and will have to come back to visit sometime in the near future. I have so many plans here in the Galapagos, of course come back to my original stomping grounds, re visit Santa Cruz and Isabela, venture down to Floreana and eventually dive Darwin and Wolf…. I don’t know when the last one will happen because those diving live-aboards cost around $5,000 but diving Darwin and Wolf… that’s the dream, just once.
This is all just bittersweet. How can I say goodbye to a place I have grown to love? Of course I want to see what I left behind in the states but the Galapagos. I really think when I get back to the states I will go through those phases of reverse culture shock. I don’t know how long things will take especially since I get overwhelmed easily and I am jumping right back into things at home. To be honest I am not prepared at all to experience these stages and I personally don’t want to be bombarded with questions about how my abroad experiences were. I know people are going to want to hear about it but for me I don’t think I am going to want to talk about it… at least not for a while. As the final days come to an end, I am just trying to focus on what really matters right now, my work and swimming in the Pacific Oce
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<p>Hello!! My name is Madison, I’m Massachusetts made and currently a junior at the University of Maine majoring in Marine Science and minoring in Spanish. I love the ocean and can sometimes be a science nerd so I am really looking forward to spending my time in the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin happened to discover evolution. I enjoy drawing, taking photos with my GoPRo, and snorkeling/diving. Follow me to stay updated on my underwater adventures!</p>