This is hard. I should be doing my homework right now but I need to write this post. I am actually really surprised at how much I like writing this. Every time one of my friends tells me they read it, I feel really good. It's nice to know that people are taking the time and reading what I wrote. Which has also made it really hard to say exactly what I am feeling at times because I don't want to sound like I am just whining and complaining. However, I need to remember that this blog is for future A.J., and while it isn't likely that he'll forget how he felt at the beginning of his study abroad, I feel like he needs to hear what I have to say.
Like I said, this is hard. In fact this is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am on my own in a foreign country thousands of miles away from my family. I don't have anyone I can go to and really just feel safe and taken care of. For me, that feeling of security is the greatest feeling I could feel. After high school, moving to Colorado and Texas I felt really alone, but I knew I was safe because I had family with me. Even if I didn't have any friends, I had a house and loved ones I could be with.
Not here. I don't have anyone that I can really just feel safe with. There is a line in one of my favorite songs that says "Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?" and I think I can honestly say yes. That's why I think that its a great thing that I am going to live with another person. I was thinking about it and living alone in this city would probably just compound the problem. Today, Aliya and I are going to sign the contract for the apartment I talked about in an earlier post. Thank god for her. She lets me know that I'm not going through this alone. That there are other people with the same problems as me.
However, despite how much that helps me, it still doesn't take away the fact that I have twelve more weeks without seeing my family and truly being home. That is the longest I've gone in my life without seeing my family.
I talked to Kate yesterday. She spent her junior year in Bologna, Italy. I was really surprised to hear from her but she gchatted me and asked how I liked France. I told her it was good but I was really homesick. She told me that she was exactly where I am. I know that people have told me that what I am going through is normal, but hearing it from Kate, someone who did what I am (she spent a year abroad from UCSB) really made me feel better.
Last night helped a lot too. Dinners with the family here give me that sense of security, if only for a little while. The problem is that I know I am leaving here this weekend. I finally just got comfortable and it is time to change my world again. I'll be moving to a different part of the city, one I haven't spent much time in.
I am sick to my stomach. I don't really have an appetite. I guess the good thing is that I'll still lose weight! I actually was talking with Nick, and he and I have the same waist size, despite the fact that he does all this crazy military PT and goes running and all that. It kinda is a good feeling. But the nausea, not so much.
I hate feeling regret. I don't regret coming to Paris at all. I am glad that I am in Paris. But I do regret taking my comparative law class in French. I honestly think that if I wasn't in that class but in one in English, I wouldn't be feeling like this. And I hate the fact that I am always thinking "What if?" I can't stand it, but I can't stop it. What if I wasn't in this course? What if I was at UC Paris, or studying in Lyon or Bordeaux. What if I was back in SB for the first quarter and then went abroad starting in the winter? What if I came abroad with a close friend? What if I don't have a place to live next year? What if my friends find a house without me? All of these stupid questions are swirling in my brain and upsetting my stomach.
I find it interesting that there was a direct correlation to my homesickness feelings and school starting and the weather changing. For the first three weeks I didn't mind being in Paris. It was still summer, people were still on vacation, and I was only in my orientation classes. Now that what I do has actual consequences I feel the pressure. And it is pressure I put on myself. I don't want this pressure, but I know that it is this pressure that got me to study abroad in the first place. I don't want to be just another person. This pressure to be someone out of the ordinary has led me to some pretty cool places. The latest being here. But it is also blinding me from truly enjoying this place.
All I know is I have never looked forward to a flight more in my life than I am now for the one taking me back to the US at winter break.
Btw, sorry that this post doesn't really follow any logical order. Sometimes stream of consciousness is the best way for me to get what I want to say out.