Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On studying abroad.

The very first day I arrived in England, after I had gotten all my things up to what was to be my room for the next three months, I stood staring out the window, unable to process everything that was flying around in my head. So I did what any normal 21-year-old girl who was abroad on her own would do. I cried.

I spent about an hour crying in my room that first day, extremely, terribly thankful that I was the only one on my floor. What would my floormates think if, the first time I met them, my eyes were red and puffy and I was sniffling all over the place? So I got it out that first day.

After that I was surprised at how easily and quickly I settled in. Newcastle no longer seems like a strange foreign place that I'm scared to walk around by myself. It's not quite home but it feels more like it every day, especially after a weekend away, when I'm just getting back and my feet are aching and my bag is weighing my shoulders down and the only thing that's going to be better than a hot shower is falling into my bed, in my room, on my floor. Because it's slowly turning into a place that I can call mine.

Then there's that nagging voice at the back of my head, prodding and poking and telling me I'm not making the most of being abroad. Have I done enough yet? I've been here for over a month and I haven't even left the UK yet. I spent a weekend in Ireland and a weekend in London but what I expected to feel when I went away isn't there. Aren't I supposed to feel amazed and fulfilled, like pieces are just clicking into place with ease? Here I am in a foreign country, seeing and experiencing new things, and yet I still feel like I need to do more. What more can I do?

Don't get me wrong, I love being here. I love all the people I've met (especially my friends of 10A) and everything has been great but sometimes I feel like I spend too much time either sitting in my room or sitting in my friend's room. Shouldn't I be out exploring? Drinking with the natives? Pushing my boundaries? Getting to know all that England has to offer? Maybe I built it up too much and now actually being here just isn't living up to my expectations.

But I'm here, aren't I? I made it here, I got myself here (with, of course, much help from my parents; let's be real). Shouldn't that be enough? Theoretically, everything should just fall into place and I shouldn't have to move too many pieces around. Or maybe that's the point--the pieces aren't all there and I have to seek them out. The picture isn't complete yet, but I don't quite know what I'm looking for so I'm just going around and looking, touching, feeling, learning--and maybe that's the whole point after all.


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