Well I wasn’t about to let 20 days pass without a blog post, and I’ll be honest, this might not be what you are expecting. However, I’m not one to pretend things are something different than how I see them. That being said, dear readers, read on…
Don’t ever let someone tell you how your life is going to go. Make your own decisions and listen to what you want. I’m not saying don’t listen to people; constructive criticism is great and ask my advisors, parents, and friends, I love asking for advice! Lot’s of advice and words of wisdom serve to motivate us and get us where we want to go. But sometimes another’s words can lead us down a path that isn’t our own. And although the intentions of people close to you are–hopefully–good, they can mess with your head. What does this have to do with being in France, oh that’s right, I’m an ocean away, well it’s time to tell you all this: I’m having a hard time. *dun dun dun*!!!!!!
All I heard from people the past summer was “You’re going to come back a different person” “You’re going to love every minute of it” and my personal favorite “You’ll figure out what you want to do with your life”.
Guess what? It is because of all the hype that I’ve spent with first month (I can’t believe it’s already been a month!) a little out of sorts. I’ve been waiting for all those well wishes to come true. I feel a little ridiculous, even naive, to have been waiting for a lightning strike to hit and everything to just be in place but I finally realized that’s not going to happen! And that’s ok! My expectations were beyond unrealistic, a different person? Really? (I’m scowling at myself for that one.) And to believe it’s de as easy as sitting back and letting it happen to me all at once? Who do I think I am?
Today I had one morning class, ate lunch and did some work in the library. I got home and went for a run and before I got to the end of the block the rain started. Now I could have easily turned around and gotten my nap in, but I didn’t. I ran in the rain making a mental laundry list of things that I don’t like here. I could list it for you, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve been seeking out things to dislike, when really I’ve been approaching cultural differences with a negative attitude. So what if people look at you funny when you try to ask for stamps at the post office and really ask for post cards? BIG DEAL.
Back to my wet laundry list, I threw it out and kept running thinking about this epiphany and this blog post. Hopefully I’m not alone in feeling this way while abroad and to clarify I am not, I repeat I am not unhappy or regretting my decision. But it’s not always easy and you don’t love EVERY minute. For me, if I’m happy more times of the day than I’m frustrated then it’s a good day. And lastly, don’t expect something to be a life changing experience. If you do, it won’t be.
In preparing to study abroad make realistic expectations like having a fun time and travelling with new friends, rather than scary ones that ruminate in the back of your mind and prevent you embracing the wonderful opportunities right in front of you.
Looking back, I really expected this transition to be easy and fun and that everything would click right away. It hasn’t, but I’m no longer discouraged by making mistakes and looking foolish. Every set back is a chance to get it right the next time and learn from mistakes rather than trying to be perfect. So I guess what I’m saying, dear readers, is that if I can run a 5k in the pouring rain and not break my ipod, I can stop expecting to wake up a “different person” (I don’t even know what this means actually and it’s getting more and more comical to me every time I write it.) and start living every day happy to be here and eager to surround myself with a different and challenging culture.
I’m happy enough here to enjoy running in the rain; it took one run and a month to feel that way but I have three more months to profit from it! Coming next I’ve got pictures from my weekend in Normandy, stay tuned!