Once a very long time ago (really not that long ago, it just feels like a while ago), little 20 year-old Stacey wrote a list of 25 things she’d learned while abroad and posted it on Facebook a little over a month after she’d returned. It seems funny to go back through that list now and have memories come back. The learning didn’t stop there though. It was really just the beginning.
What is it like? How do you feel? Are you doing okay? These are all questions that my friends and family have been asking upon hearing of my safe arrival in France. It seems surreal to be here again after all of the months spent in preparation for this year abroad. I can’t say how I feel exactly just yet. Too many emotions to name all at once. Upon waking this morning, part of me just hurt that it would be about eleven months before I will see those dear faces I left the day before. The other part of me, the adventurous side, was begging to hurry up and get outside to explore. The logical side was going through the list of things that need to be done and prioritizing them while knocking incessantly on the door of the worried side. The poor worried side has been screaming a little too loudly lately unfortunately. The coffee side was, well, obviously wanting coffee. The French part of my brain was sleeping soundly and refused to wake up until beaten over the head upon the first run-in with a French speaker at a boulangerie (bakery) where I went to buy a sandwich. Hence, all the struggling to find the right words to ask a question. The English side was quite awake and well sipping coffee and staring reproachfully at the French side. All that to say that I guess I’m doing all right and just reminding myself to take it one day at a time and just soak it all in.
Much to my delight, my room is also purple. I was in the midst of telling my hostess how much I love purple when I tripped over my suitcase and nearly fell into the room. This seems to be becoming a habit with me since I tripped and fell over the same suitcase in a room where Jesse (my brother) and I stayed this summer during a road trip right after telling him to be sure to be quiet. Life is indeed never boring.
Today’s major first adventure was learning how to light a gas stove. Maybe that seems funny, but I’ve seriously never used one that didn’t light itself. So, another experience gained and a way to make my own meals has become possible. Though don’t ask me about lighting the oven just yet…that’s something to learn another day.
It is indeed hard to leave and go to a different place in a different culture so very far from all that is familiar. I’ve done this more than once, and it never does get any easier. I know once I find a rhythm and a routine, it will become easier to find a new normal. For now, I shall head to bed and rest after a long day.
More adventures to come!