Back to Britain – Reverse Culture Shock is Real! by Yasmin Benn

Moving country is never an easy decision. Uprooting your life to anchor down elsewhere brings a lot of stress and uncertainty. But what if you’re leaving your life as an expat to return back home?

Surely that’s easier than moving to a foreign country, right? Returning to familiarity should be an easy transition, rightttt? Well, that’s not always the case.

I left Budapest 4 weeks ago and I feel like I’ve lost a limb. Although I’ve loved catching up with friends and being able to see them more regularly is fantastic, I just can’t shake this feeling that something is missing. It’s a difficult feeling to describe. But, I’ve come to realise that living abroad became a part of my identity and now I don’t have that, I’m left wondering ‘who am I at home’? I guess what I’m feeling is a loss.

Maybe that sounds a bit … dramatic? I’ve only moved back home. But it’s one of many things that have shocked me since returning. Here’s a list of other things I’ve noticed since arriving back in the UK. These are more light-hearted.

Strangers smile at you

Throughout my 3 years in Budapest, I can’t recall one time when a stranger smiled at me in the street. Oh, and don’t expect a welcoming ‘Hallo’ or a friendly smile from a cashier in Hungary as you’ll be bitterly disappointed. Living there, I forgot that small talk and chit-chat actually existed. So it was surprising when the cashier in my local Asda chatted my head off as I bought my weekly shop and randomers greeted me ‘good morning’ in the street. At first, I became paranoid that I must know these people but have forgotten who they were. But in reality, I just forgot how polite British people are.

Sandwiches are STRICTLY for lunch

While in Budapest I became partial to a sarnie (British slang for a sandwich) for breakfast. It was a popular choice of breakfast for Hungarians (although most Hungarians seemed to skip it all together) as well as my Spanish boyfriend. I mean, toast is common for us Brits, so a sandwich isn’t a world away. But no, no. Having a sandwich at 8am is too much for Brits to comprehend because … what will you then have for lunch?!!

Let’s drive there  

It seems that Brits are unable to walk anywhere that is more than 10 minutes away. Trying to get a Brit to walk to the shops when they have the option to drive, is impossible. When my friends and family came to visit me in Budapest, they would all have the same complaint “my feet are hurting, we’ve walked so much. Shall we get a taxi?”