I am back in Belgium now for a couple of weeks and it is hard to be back. First of all, and the biggest problem, is that I have to live with my parents.
People here in my home country don’t know anything about the life I am living abroad. They haven’t changed that much, but I have changed and I am not used to the Belgian life anymore.
I have been living more than 9 years in China now and China is my home. Already for years I have a reversed culture shock. I don’t know much about life in my home country anymore. I don’t know the recent developments and what the popular trends are.
It has been harder and harder to come back. But, it is also due to the fact that I have to live with my parents and that they live in a small village with no public transportation. The contrast between the village and Shenzhen couldn’t be bigger for sure.
My husband came with me this time, so it was a good excuse to sometimes take my parents’ car and drive to another city to visit.
Village life is, I guess, in most places all over the world the same. People don’t like change; they want to keep the traditional way of living. So, we have been eating traditional meals with a lot of fries, Belgian waffles and of course a lot of chocolate. But, it’s not all about food. I feel that I have evolved into a life that my family knows nothing or very little about. They talk about Belgian things and assume I still know, but I have no idea about it.
All this makes me go into a little identity crisis sometimes: am I still Belgian or am I becoming more and more Chinese? This is the most difficult question and I don’t think I can answer: I consider myself still as Western, but not as much as pure Belgian.
Even though, I know it is also because of this village that I feel this way. I have a friend who lives in a big city here in Belgium and I still feel more connected with her. It is difficult to stay nice to my parents, though. I want to have a great time with them while I am here but I am getting annoyed with their close-mindedness and they still treat me as the little girl they knew.
All in all, it is always good to be back in my home country, because it makes me realize how much I have grown over the years. I am glad I got out of the village and took responsibility to live the life that I want and not one that society wants me to have.