If you’ve been abroad for long you’ve noticed that your host culture has a way of creeping up on you. What was initially foreign slowly becomes normal. You begin to adopt the practices of your surroundings.
Which, inevitably, comes back to bite you the next time you arrive on the familiar shores of home. Below are five signs that you’ve been abroad for too long. :)
1. You Pick Up Local Slang
You know you’ve been abroad for too long when you find yourself getting ridiculously excited by local slang from your home country. I never thought I used much slang until I traveled abroad and phased out my usage as I realized that non English speakers didn’t always understand what I meant. It’s perhaps no wonder then that when a fellow Brit I’d just met in New Zealand said she was ‘just nipping to the loo’ I became way too over excited. I was great hearing someone else use such a common phrase back home (FYI it means going to the toilet).
On the other hand, being English I say things like trousers instead of pants. We just say pants for underwear, and I still have a little giggle to myself every time some says ‘pants’, so living abroad can be pretty amusing too! It’ll be interesting to know how much Kiwi slang I’ve picked up while being in New Zealand, ‘Jandals’ have replaced ‘Flip flops’, and ‘no worries’ has replaced ‘you’re welcome’.
– Gemma from Gemma Jane Adventures
2. You Haggle
Once upon a time the thought of bartering a price stopped me cold. It’s about as far from my American culture as you can get. But recently while in Sri Lanka I found myself talking a tuk tuk driver down on his price without giving it a second thought.
You’re never going to pay local prices, and that’s okay. But usually you can shave a little off the “tourist tax”.
3. You Expect Great Service
Ideas about customer service completely morph while you’re abroad. Living in Korea, I’ve become somewhat of a spoiled-brat. Servers at restaurants come to your beck and call at the push of a button (literally) because tables come equipped with “ding-dong” bells to get the waitstaff’s attention. After every shopping purchase, you are usually given full-sized samples of cool products like socks and nail polish remover.
When I went back to the USA for a quick visit, I was appalled to see that a simple haircut with shampoo cost more than $40 after tips! In Korea, not only do you get your hair shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed, but you also get an unlimited amount of refreshments and snacks served to you including ice cream and to top it of, you get a head, back, AND hand massage! And you are almost attended by two people at the very least. The total cost: 12,000 won or $10, no tipping required. When my brother came to visit, I took him out for a haircut. Let’s just say his standards have changed too.
-Izzy from The Next Somewhere
4. You Cut In Line
Line? What line? Anyone who’s been abroad long learns that there’s no such thing as an orderly queue. And if you want to get what you need this side of Sunday, you’re going to need to assert yourself. And stand uncharacteristically close to others.
Recently at an airport in India I realized (in hindsight) that I had cut to the front of a line in a restaurant. Twice! The poor westerners in line must have thought I was terribly rude.
5. You Think in Too Many Languages
I am an Indian brought up in Dubai, moved to Uk and now I live in Belgium. I have lived long in Belgium and we order a beer saying ”een pintje” – One pint in Dutch. When I was in India last time for a trip, I ended up saying the same at a bar.
-VIshanth from Vishualization
If you’re attempting to learn the local language you’ll find your mind constantly working through how to say something in your language and the second language. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself in the shower conjugating verbs. Or lying in bed at night and have a wandering thought demand to be translated.
All of this is said, tongue-in-cheek, of course. Is there really such a thing as being abroad too long? :) And there are so many more that could be listed. We had a lot of fun coming up with a bunch over on our facebook page.
What would you add to the list? :)