Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

09 Aug 2001, 9:54 a.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Reverse culture shock feels a little harder than the culture shock of going to Russia. There were no orientations for the return.

All the signs are in English. Everyone speaks English. Well, almost everyone. I no longer know, personally, all the English speakers in a hundred-meter radius. And people are so loud and open on buses and BART and they talk to you and make jokes even when they don't know you. And BART is so unnecessarily cushy and not-crowded, and cashiers find it unusual that you make an effort to give them exact change, and cashiers make conversation, and it's okay to walk down the street smiling and singing to myself.

Lots of things, such as transit systems and buildings, seem very new. Compared to construction in some parts of Russia, UC Berkeley construction either seems lightning-fast or crawlingly slow.

I'm listening to DDT, Disk II. It makes me feel more comfortable to have some Russian in my life. And I understand more than one might think, in the lyrics.

I really do like the familiar. I'm enjoying knowing where to go, and remembering the buildings and streets and smells. But I now know that I'm not beholden to the familiar. I enjoy the new, too. Maybe I've finally recovered from all that moving-around that my family did when I was a kid. Maybe I can actually deal with change now. Concept!

I've so far hung out some with Leonard and Steve and my sister. I hope to do more of all that, and also to hang out with Seth and Alexei soonish.

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at