It’s been exactly one month since I got home.
Chicka-chicka what? (I know, you’re wondering – is that title a Buffy reference or a Jack Black movie reference? Or is it just a reference to my childhood love, the VHS? The world may never know)
Yes, I’m home. To be honest, I’m not overly excited about it, and I wasn’t really expecting to be. And it’s not because I didn’t miss my family and friends, I assure you. But more on that later. In terms of wanting to go back, I don’t help myself out a whole lot – Like social-media stalking anyone I know that goes to Europe or England or is still there from when I was there? It’s quite sad. (Would I like some cheese with my w(h)ine???)
Anywho, let’s move away from pity-party land for some real talk.
My experience of coming home was a giant sign to just not leave London. I had basically every problem you can think of while traveling in one day, so I don’t even want to talk about it. Let me just put it this way: it was a day from hell. If you want the long, dramatic, and now slightly inflated version of this story, ask me again sometime. (slightly inflated due to annoyance and aggravation, not actually making myself look more awesome than I already am)
Also, it poured the day before I left. Signs I should not have left!
Here it is, blunt as it can possibly be:
If you enjoyed your time abroad and lived it like you should have, coming home will probably suck. Everyone talks about how much fun it is to study abroad, and unless they’ve studied abroad, no one warns you about how much it hurts to come home.
Kind of like when you get emotionally invested in a book or a movie or a TV show and then the writers/authors kill you slowly with awesome sadness. (Watch this show/read this book….it’ll be fun they said…and cue the ugly crying) Is that just me? Ok then.
But that means you did it right. You did it justice.
If you feel emotionally attached to a city, culture, people, food, etc. like I do right now (I’m drinking Tetley tea right now. Tell me I’m not ridiculous.) then you really let that place into your life. You were more of a traveler and less of a tourist. If you don’t get that, please see this great article as an example. (Being a tourist is okay, but being a traveler will teach you so much more, I promise!) And if all of that happened, you did it right.
And if you did that anyway and can walk away without missing something, anything at all, you’re not human! Or just crazy! Just kidding.
I know I must have done some thing right, anyway. I ache (weird but true, maybe I should see a doctor?) to go back…to see the rolling green fields with the hedgerows and rapeseed flowers covering the lands in rain jacket yellow, to see the Underground signs in London, or the “look left” signs on the streets. I even miss the dismal weather. The bloody weather! It’s just…really hard to describe how much I miss it. So I’ll stop there.
I also miss the traveling. I really caught the bug – the wanderlust bug. I’ve pretty much decided that I need to find a way to get paid to travel.
Someone discover my blog and hire me?? :) But really. I am going back to Paris in July. No one can cure me of my ridiculous obsession with traveling (small Moulin Rouge reference? Yes please)
If you study abroad, it might happen to you, so be prepared to catch the bug worth catching.
Re-entry and Re-adjustment (things to keep in mind/an overview)
If you actually study abroad and your home office is worth two cents (or way more, in my case), you will be briefed on this, but it still doesn’t make it hurt less. (So yeah, I was warned, but it’s really hard to explain without actually experiencing it.)
- You will more than likely miss wherever it was you went.
- If people did not study abroad, they will not get it. Don’t try to force them to “get it.” Instead, just relay your experiences in awesome stories and make them want to travel with you. Travel buddies ftw.
- Eventually people will probably get sick of “this one time in insert country here” stories. Sorry to break it to you. (I am one of “those” people who don’t shut up about my study abroad experience. Whoops!)
- If possible, join a study abroad group at your school. It’s like AA for us, except more fun…hopefully
- Most importantly (aka if you didn’t read any other bullet points, read this one): it takes time to adjust, and it won’t be the same as before. You just had a life-changing experience, so let it continue to change you in good ways.
Seriously, (here comes more pity-party, feel free to skip) I know it’s been a long time since I last posted, and while I’d love to blame it on the busy-ness (because I actually have been very busy) of my schedule, it’s more to do with the fact that I’ve had this pent-up fear of finishing this post.
Honestly, it’s been half done since the day I returned to Chicago.
It’s the fear of admitting it, of having to face the facts. I am back in the United States and not still frolicking in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.
But despite that I miss it and this post kind of seems a little (maybe a lot) passive-aggressive, I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to have experienced everything I did while studying abroad. It did change my life and all that cliché jazz. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to and welcome any and all questions about it.
Also, I just use that weird sounding ache I was talking about as motivation to get me back to England and back to traveling.
Overall, I just want to go back – rewind. Or maybe fast forward. Hmm.
Two final things:
My last full day there I went to Borough Market and just roamed around the city on a mini coffee tour.
I had deep dish pizza as my first meal back in Chicago.
(Like you expected anything less in either situation)
P.S. – I’m going to keep posting on here. I have a post about traveling solo that I did after I went to Germany that I need to finish up, and I’m sure I’ll find some way to bore you some more.