It’s been a week since the end of fall break, and with only 5 or so weeks left, I’m starting to really feel the pangs for America. No one told me this would happen, and if you had talked to me earlier in the semester I would have let you know I never want to leave. Yet, I find myself now missing the independence of home and all my friends.
On independence: Host families are great. You’re forced to speak French and you essentially have a mom/dad to help you navigate through this crazy new culture as you adjust. But here’s the thing, I’m tired of feeling like a child. I’m 21 years old and it would be great if I was treated that way. But instead, I feel like I’m back in high school with my host family and it’s driving me bonkers. Thus my nugget of advice: if you’re looking to study abroad really think about how independent you are and do some serious self-assessment. Having a home-stay was partly why I picked this program, but I wish I had reflected a little more on that and how much I would dislike it. Great situation for some, just not for me (and we do have a great host family, so it’s nothing against them).
On convenience: I miss driving. I miss it probably more than most other things because I just want to be able to run to the store without spending an hour walking there and back. Is that too much to ask? Not that Aix is really even a city you would want to drive in, but I just miss it. I’ll be content when I’m back in the states and leaving the house isn’t always such an adventure.
On friends: It’s hard to remember that life goes on without you. Over break I was able to skype with Austin and Nora (my BFFs) at the end of their Halloween night (it was morning time in Sweden) and it made me miss Oklahoma more than anything else this semester. I had to face the fact that people and things move on even without me there, and that despite how much I wanted to join in on the shenanigans, I couldn’t. It was the same when I woke up this morning and realized my sorority finally won Homecoming. I can’t say that homecoming is my favorite week of the year, but it was bittersweet knowing all the work they put in finally paid off, but that I wasn’t there to be able to join in and celebrate.
I really do love France, especially Aix, but it’s hard during times like this when I just want to be home. I’m going to try my hardest to shift my perspective on the situation in order to fully enjoy these last few weeks, because I know I’ll regret it otherwise. But really, coming home will be easier than I thought.