It’s here. The halfway point. DUN DUN. I left my home and my husband and my life 88 days ago, and in 88 days I will return, tired, probably a bit smelly because of the 9 hour flight.
How can I express how this experience has been so far? At the very least I’ve experienced a myriad of emotions: sadness when I left, excitement and glee at seeing Paris for the first time in my life, homesickness, being overwhelmed by this new world I find myself in.
But I’ve had more opportunities to travel in the last 88 days than I have years. I’ve visited 12 different cities in 6 different countries with histories and buildings older than my country, (probably) taken over a thousand photos, gotten to know my host family, the people in my group from my university, and above all- I’ve gotten to know myself much better.
I have a much better idea of what I can do, what I want to do, and what I can’t and don’t want to do. Though it may sound a little pessimistic, I think it’s incredibly important to be able to say to yourself- “I don’t want to do this”, and not feel any guilt or, as one friend put it, “fear of missing out”. I’ve travelled with a large group of people (which will never happen again with any luck), a couple of other people, and just myself.
My language skills have improved beyond measure, and I now feel much more confident when conversing, but I still know I have a long way to go. I’ve started reading my first book in French, and I’ve made it through a DELF B2 exam as well as midterms (I honestly couldn’t tell you which was worse).
I’ve been through some pretty difficult depression, and am finding the way out again.
I’ve shared a measure of the fear people have felt during the attacks in Brussels, and their sorrow.
In the next 88 days, I’ll be going to 9 new cities in 4 new countries, including Senegal, Africa as part of our program. I’ll see my husband in 69 days, and we’ll have a grand honeymoon through Europe before coming back home.
Unlike others, I never really settled in here, and I don’t think I will, in all honesty. Though I know this experience will behoove me in the long term, that doesn’t alleviate the difficulty of being far from everything that I can call mine or make me truly happy. It’s okay though. It’s only 88 more days.