I was talking with a highly accomplished business operations director the other day. But he'd spent all his career in England and only been abroad for vacations. He asked what my 3+ years working and living in America had been like.
I described it as a bit like scuba diving: you're fully immersed with no easy or quick way back to familiar ground; and you can see the fish and touch the fish, but you're not a fish and can never become one, no matter how hard you try! At the same time, it's full of wonder and fascination and new learning.
And when you come back you see the old with new eyes and a fresh sense of appreciation for the familiar things previously taken for granted: it's great to breathe freely and not have to consider air levels in the tank and decompression stages, etc.!
We've made close friendships with an American family living in the Cotswolds for 3+ years to accompany the Dad's senior banking job. They immediately "get" the analogy and see we English as strange fish, too!
I looked it up: it was George Bernard Shaw who described England and America as two nations "divided by a common language!" True
But what an experience! My family and I learned so much, made such great friends, received outstanding and generous hospitality from such warm-hearted Mid-Westerners. We continue to be deeply grateful and humbled. Despite our hot tub trauma!