I've been home exactly one week, and at once, it feels like no time at all...and then ages. When I go running, listening to the same Aerosmith music that I listened to in Cork, I can close my eyes and see my Irish running path unfolding before me, meter by meter. When I see a stick lying in the tall grass on the side of the road, I almost have to physically restrain myself from picking it up, and well, where would I move it to? Toss it into the road? 'Honey, you're in the 'burbs now,' I think. And everybody knows everybody. So you probably shouldn't dance to your heart's delight along your new running route (except you do so anyways).
That said, I really haven't felt the reverse culture shock so much. Maybe on the plane in Chicago and the nightmare that is making a connecting flight in the O'Hare airport. I compare Heathrow to Chicago here, and that perhaps it is a little unfair because Heathrow's Terminal 5 was voted best terminal in the world, or so I remember. However, the contrast between Europe's extensive transportation system and the US has becomes a little laughable. When one spends 2/3 of one's transfer time waiting in the US Citizens Customs line, thinking about how pissed off all of the Americans look while video screens overhead blast energetic, patriotic music with fireworks going off in the background and the words 'Chicago Welcomes You' blink at you in bold letters. Actually, that was one surprising thing: Americans tend to radiate a lot more pissed off vibes at the world than others, in both the way they speak and stand. Interpret that how you will. People seemed happier in Sweden. That said, I am very happy to be back home.
You can read more about Amy's adventures in Ireland and Sweden on her blog: http://wymanaontheedge.blogspot.ie/