*I’m afraid that the food in the States will make me sick because I am so used to the cuisine here in Europe.
*I’m afraid that my stories of Europe will fall on deaf ears and people just won’t care about what I have to say.
*I’m afraid of the bombardment of questions that are certain to ensue: “How was it?” “Did you have fun?” “What was your favorite part?” “Tell me everything.” All comments I am sure to respond to repeatedly. And I’m not looking forward to that annoyance, so I’m kinda bracing myself.
*I am afraid of being deathly BORED when I get back. There is SO much to do and see here and going back to the States is just gonna be so blase.
*I’m afraid of all the things I’ve missed while I’ve been gone…how everyone will have changed…having to reconnect with people and rediscovering my niche.
*I’m afraid that people back home will think me a snob because I’ve been to Europe. Which seriously upsets me to think about. I recognize that traveling the world is a tremendous opportunity that I am not at all deserving of.
*I’m afraid of being a loner when I get back like I was here because no one understands me.
*I’m afraid that my family and friends will take all of this as an insult, when I don’t intend for it to be one at all. I miss America, but I don’t want to leave Europe. I want everyone back home to understand that I will be experiencing such mixed emotions. But saying that won’t make a difference. You guys back home won’t be able to get it completely unless you’ve been through a similar experience. And again, I’m not saying that with an air of superiority either; it doesn’t make me any better than you. It just makes my experience in my life not-so-typical. I’ve developed an identity here in Europe and it’s going to be surreal, frightening, and intimidating returning to everyday life in the States. Living in a different culture just gives you a completely different perspective/mindset/worldview on life.
These are all of my inhibitions coming back home from my three month study abroad trip. I have been crazy homesick. I have been stubborn, not wanting to leave. All within the past month.
Apparently these conflicting emotions are normal. Everyone here on the trip can understand them. Everyone back home might not. Don’t take it personally guys. But put yourself in my position. Would you miss everyone back home? Yes. Would you want to leave one of the most incredible places in the world? No. That can give you a glimpse of what I am feeling right now.
We had our last group devotional last night. And I cried. The leadership team gave each individual on the trip a gift that matched their personality or had something to do with inside jokes that formed on the trip.
Whitley was the Great American Tourist. Becca was the lost Amish girl. Deanna and Blake Lannom were supposed to have a dance off. Hunter loved his gummy bears. Erin was the picture taker of the group. Lindsey was the feminist. Clair was the momma hen. Anne Elisabeth was the rebel. Bennett was the argumentative brother. Marlee was the videographer. Amy was the dubstep lover. Kate was the awkward random Asian. Kaley was the female leader of the group. Kathryn was the RA. Virginia was the group sweetheart. Becca was the fashionista. Julia was the crazy girl. Wade was the always-late male model. Andrew was the opinionated drama king. Rainey was the musician. Dominique was the smiley face of the group. Will was the lone wolf. Hope was the undercover crazy. Scott was the heartthrob and the male leader of the group. Emily was the known for her farm back at home. Daniel was the sweet tea maker.
We had a discussion between German and Humanities today about RCS. It is a serious condition that affect many students who study abroad. RCS is Reverse Culture Shock. The link below is basically everything that we went over in class. We talked about what we would miss when we left. We talked about how we have changed. We talked about what we were looking forward to. We talked about the stages of RCS and how to prepare for it.
The scariest part for me? Apparently the easier it was for you to acclimate to the new culture, the harder it will be to re-acclimate to your home culture. And I feel like I acclimated fairly easily.
Further, I know RCS will affect me. At the beginning of our trip, Frau Swann drew a diagram of what our emotions would look like as the semester progressed. Her diagram was spot on with the way I felt during this semester. Knowing that, I have no doubt I will experience RCS. And I’m not looking forward to having to deal with it. But there is no avoiding the issue.
Read the article. It will tell you all about what I am talking about.
Okay. This entire last month I am spending in Europe is bound to be an emotional roller coaster.
The first two weeks of this final month, I was homesick like you wouldn’t believe. And now…I’m not. I just realized I only have less than two more weeks in one of the most incredible places on the planet.
That’s sad! I don’t know when I will be returning here. It won’t be any time soon. I have acclimated to the culture here. I even dress like a European now, or so I was told. Which is quite possibly the best statement you could make about my fashion sense. Considering the fact I am quite fond of the way they dress here.
And even though I have not been able to travel the past two weekends, I can think of worse fates than staying in Vienna, Austria in Europe while everyone else is gone. Haha
I’m not gonna know what to do with myself not seeing the same people I have spent the past three months of my life with. It’s going to be so weird not being with them 24/7.
I’m going to miss the fact that they actually yield to pedestrians here. If they see you coming before you have even set foot on the street, they will slow down and wave for you to cross.
Public transportation is another thing I have gotten used to. It’s hilarious that trains used to be a novelty and now it’s not a big deal.
“Where are you going this weekend?”
“Oh, I’m headed to Paris. We are taking an overnight train there.”
“Cool. Have fun.”
At the same time, I do miss driving with my music blasting. I haven’t driven since September 6. I might be rusty. Haha
And I am going to look like a straight up idiot walking around the streets of Nashville in complete awe that everything is in ENGLISH. I will hear English being spoken and understand! I will walk into a store and be able to read everything! What a concept.
Thinking about it, I am going to be returning to normal everyday life. And I feel like that is going to be difficult. All summer long, I was so hyped. Looking forward to this present semester. I was going to freakin’ Europe, for Pete’s sake! Coming back to the States, I feel like it’s going to be kind of a let down. I don’t have something huge to look forward to anymore. The excitement is done and over with. Woot…
I’m not sure I am quite ready to be bombarded with all the questions that are certain to ensue. In small groups this past Wednesday, Julia Rox and I were talking about holding a press conference for ourselves. Haha “We will be giving a blanket statement concerning our trip. We will be answering any and all questions afterward. Our visiting hours will be between the hours of 9 AM and 12 PM.”
Because seriously, everyone will be asking the same questions. And we will have to repeat the same stories over and over. And people will listen, sure. But really, what they care about is that I’m back and life can continue. Telling them the stories won’t make them understand. You just had to be here to get it.
Another thing we talked about in small groups is the fact that this trip has been difficult. We mused over the fact that previous Vienna students said it was life-changing. Yes, it has been, indeed. But with significant changes comes challenges. That was the fine print that we had missed before we came over.
Literally, this trip has been trying physically, spiritually, and emotionally. You wouldn’t think so, but it has been. I would do it all over again if I had the choice. This has been an incredible God-given opportunity. I am so blessed to have experienced this trip.
It’s going to take a while for me to process everything that has happened once I return to the States. How have I grown? How have I changed? What was my favorite memory? What was my least favorite memory? So much to think about.
Next week is Thanksgiving. Everyone’s families are coming in. I wish mine could have made it out here. But I will be seeing them very soon.
Seriously. After hitting the three weeks’ left mark, I have started counting down the days. Were I not in a money crisis right now, I think it would be more tolerable. But for real, these remaining few weeks are going to drag. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Europe. Do not misunderstand me. But give me a break. I haven’t been away from home this long before in my life. I’m ready to be home for Christmas.
And I know as soon as I get back to the States, I’m gonna start missing Europe. And I may even regret being homesick while I was here. Irony.
Oh, am I flattered that you are a fan of my blog! It seriously gives me fuzzies to know that people actually read what I post.
Your obsession with me, on the other hand, took me aback and is-quite frankly-creepy. Especially considering the fact that it’s anonymous. Had I agreed to your offer, I would be utterly foolish to do so. If you wanted me to know your identity, making me find out in the most round about way isn’t the way to do so. If I did like you, I would have told you. I am a direct person like that. I don’t hide behind anonymous messages.
More importantly, I have a boyfriend. And he’s a keeper. But awwgeethanks for the spam; I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. It’s not tasty to me at all. Kinda gross actually.