The Purple Person (A Parable)
There was a man from the Land of Blue named Bill. The people from Blue were mostly blue-collar workers, but there were a few men in blue, and some blue bloods lived there, too. Their eyes were blue and their blood ran true blue. They wore blue jeans wherever they went and sailed in blue boats. It was just the way Blue People were, and Bill never questioned any of it. He was a Blue.
One day, Bill moved to the Land of Red. The people of Red were quite different than the Blues were. They had red hair. They wore red parkas and drove red cars. They ate red hot chili peppers and preferred their hamburgers red. They were red-blooded patriots who could see red when provoked.
Bill learned the ways and language of Reds, and grew to appreciate them. He realized he would never be completely like them, though. He could dye his hair red to look like theirs, but his eyes would always be blue. He did learn to eat the chili peppers and enjoy them, but he could never get used to eating red meat. He liked his meat cooked, and that would never change.
When Bill returned to the Land of Blue, his homeland looked different to him. He knew everyone wore blue jeans and sailed in blue boats, but for the first time he wondered why. Didn’t they get tired of all looking the same? He still loved blueberries, more so than ever before, but blue cheese did not hold the appeal for him that it once did. Why couldn’t he find red chili pepper cheese anywhere? Why did Blue People insist on eating such bland food? And why did Blues always look so blue?
Bill discovered a few things had changed in the Land of Blue, like credit card readers, but he himself had changed more. He still had blue eyes, and Blue people continued to treat him like any other Blue person, but he had changed inside. He had become a mix of Red and Blue. He could speak both languages, and he could function fairly well in both cultures, but he no longer really fit in either of them. He had become Purple.
For more about reverse culture shock, see this article from the U.S Department of State.