Friday, January 31, 2014

Update: January

January 31, 2014.

Hey folks! Have you missed me? I hope you're in for a long post, because I've got quite a bit to tell you about the last month of my life. ("But Elisabeth, this is a study abroad blog ... and you're not abroad anymore!" I know. I know. Just keep reading.) They say that time flies ... and it's true. I cannot believe that just over a month ago, I was walking through the streets of Montpellier on my last day in France, carrying cheese and pastries in the pockets of my raincoat (everything becomes a shopping bag if you're desperate enough). Although my last days and weeks in Montpellier feel as vivid as ever, Winter Break is nothing a happy blur spent catching up with family, friends, and fast food. I talked about France and even began my study abroad scrapbook, but it hasn't been until coming back to college that the change has felt permanent.

Now that I'm back at school, it sort of feels like my semester abroad never even happened -- as if it were all some particularly long and complicated dream. (Imagine, a dream that requires a visa! Only in France...)

Lest you get the wrong idea, I'm very happily settling back into life at the College. The first two weeks were tough: moving back into a dorm room, figuring out my final class schedule, and -- like any student freshly-returned from time abroad -- finding a quick response to "HEY! HOW WAS FRANCE?" ("Great" feels like such a cop-out and anything more enthusiastic -- "it was life-changing" -- is too obnoxious.) But the "newness" of my return is starting to wear off. Now, most people ask me about my classes or my weekend, not my four months abroad. Stories of my experiences -- about the friends I met, the places I visited, the hilarious cultural differences I noticed -- slip into conversation, but they're not the main focus of discussion. That's okay, of course, but it only underlines the feeling that my semester abroad never even happened. I've found that I'm most comfortable talking to others who've been through the same thing, who have undergone the same "reverse culture shock" that inevitably sets in upon return to Williamsburg. But don't get me wrong; I'm glad to be back. I'm actually very excited for this semester! It's going to be busy, but that's okay. "Busy" is usually where I am the happiest.