After living in Rome for 4 months, and traveling to 9 different countries, and 16 different cities, coming home was a huge awakening.
Where I lived in Rome, the grocery stores were about the size of a Walgreens. They had a huge sections of produce, a long aisle of every cheese known to man, 3 aisles of pasta, a small shelf of organics, a deli, a bakery, and a bagged snacks/baking aisle. Going to Target for the first time was like going to a mall. It was overwhelming, to say the least. I haven't seen Cheez-Itz and Goldfish for 4 months, and a whole aisle of cereal and granola? Unheard of! Also, the selection of peanut butter was incredible. Not to mention the prices. What do you mean I can't get an eggplant for 1 euro? $6? No way. They don't have fresh basil here? What is this place!
Un cappuccino por favore! Oh, wait, English. The first time I went to Starbucks here, I ordered my drink just like that. Oops. "What size?" the barista asked. What do you mean, I can get a 16-ounce coffee? Unreal. In Italy, I was so used to the typical 4-6 ounce coffees, and had to specifically request "take away" if I wanted it in a to-go cup. What do you mean I don't get a spoon with it? Then, the cash register read $5.05, and my heart broke. No more 1 euro cappuccinos either. Back to reality.
I went to the gym every day in Rome at a place right behind my apartment. I was the only non-Italian in the place, and they knew it. Every day, I would walk in, say "ciao", and that was all they would ever hear from me. At home, my first day back to the gym, I had to hold myself back from saying "ciao" to the attendant, and everyone else for that matter. When I wanted to warm-up on the treadmill with a nice walk, I pressed "6", and then I was sprinting. When I went to do weights, I put the peg on 30 and was pleasantly surprised when those Lat pull-downs felt so easy. Remember to do your conversions, folks, it may save your life! 6 miles per hour is a lot faster than 6 kilometers per hour, and 30 pounds is a lot lighter than 30 kilograms!
In Rome, and everywhere else in Europe, we walked everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Walked to get coffee, dinner, the grocery store, the gym, train station, Airbnb's, everywhere. Here, it is so weird seeing parking lots in front of these places, because people actually drive there, and it is even weirder not having the option to just walk to the gym or to get groceries. It was always so nice getting in the steps, and getting extra fresh air in the process, but it definitely has made me appreciate my mini-van even more.
So, although being home is amazing, it is a huge shock after getting so used to daily life in Rome. Culture shock is real, and even in your home country.