Friday, March 30, 2007

Back In The Saddle

So I've been back for a while now. I kept meaning to post something about how horrible the w-curve was, or how much I wanted to be back in France, not working, not sitting at home, eating and watching TV. But I couldn't. It seemed impossible to try to sit down and bring everything together, reflect about my experiences and glean new insights about myself and the world. It was frustrating and painful.
I wanted to make the most of my time at home and volunteer or visit people. I knew I should, but I couldn't. It was more difficult for me to be social at home, in my own neighborhood, in my own country, than it was in France. I didn't really want to do anything. Just sit by myself, quietly, without being bothered. Without having to speak any language. Just let English wash over me without having to think or process information. TV is good for that.
I guess I wanted to keep living in a homeless, confused and judgemental limbo where nothing seemed to be quite good enough. It was too hard to decide what to keep, what to leave in Europe and what to change. I couldn't talk to many people about it because they were far away, in other countries or other states. Torn between where I was and where I was supposed to be and where I wanted to be.
And I was receiving letters from the bank making me believe I owed the Republique of France money.
Things are getting better now that I can hear other people's stories and either relate or be completely astonished. Now I have friends to be around and activities to be involved with. But it's still different and a little less comfortable.
I miss my host parents. I miss my cold house. I miss my little city.
There is no going back to normal.

2 Comments:

Blogger mgp1243 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:02 PM  
Blogger mgp1243 said...

I was wondering how you're feeling now, having been back a few more months? I got back from Germany just under a month ago now, and more than anything, it's made me want to go out and affect change everywhere I go. There were lots of things I didn't like about American society before, and I had a loose conception of how I would want to change it for the better, but now having lived somewhere where the cultural norms create an environment much closer to my ideal than the US has ever come, it makes me want to communicate to everyone how things could be different here if people would just wake up and start caring.

I try really hard to not sound like that guy everyone hates who comes back from traveling somewhere and won't stop talking about how much better it is there than at home, since I hate that guy just as everyone else, but it's so difficult to just sit back and accept a society that's so backwards from my personal ideal. So many people seem to be unable to open themselves up to the concept of changing the way they live! They're unwilling embrace social interaction and civic engagement in favor of continuing to chain themselves to the mind crushing and soul deadening effects of TV and suburban sprawl. Why does food have to come in 30lb industrial sized frozen packages for home consumption? What ever happened to appreciation for quality, unprocessed food. Why are people so ready and willing to acquiesce to the idea that cars are essential to modern living?! Things are this way because this is what is dictated to us and not enough people are willing to take a stand against this culture of personal isolationism and instant gratification! All in pursuit of the American Dream I suppose.

Really Erin, I'm not bitter though, just more aware (I hope). I'd love to hear more of how you think your time abroad has changed you since you've been back.

By the way, I found your blog by way of the class notes in the Roeper alumni magazine, so kudos for putting the note in there (or to your parents on your behalf, which ever it was).

-Michael

10:05 PM  

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