I wake up because of my phone vibrations.
It may be 9 a.m. here, but it’s 7 p.m. in France. My friends and family may have sent me messages during the night, but I always wake up to the last vibrations of my phone.
Maybe it’s because my subconscious knows that I only have few remaining hours to talk to them before they go to bed.
I already spoke to one or two people on the phone from back in France, either by call or text messages.
I feel bad, I miss everything. On a daily basis, people are having apéro (typical French pre-dinner drinking time) while I am talking to them at this hour of the day. They share with me how they are drinking wine and eating cheese, or dried pieces of meat.
It fills me up with joy and homesickness at the same time. I feel like I’m there and not there at the same time.
Sometimes, we sing along French songs.
Sometimes, we just talk about all the things I will be able to do with them when I’ll be back: stroll around the city at night, drink beers around the river, smoke cigarettes and drink glasses of red wine in outdoor cafés … it warms my heart.
By this time, I’ve already grabbed my coffee and a little something to eat at BCB Coffee or Starbucks.
I may also have already smoked 1 to 3 cigarettes.
Lately, I have been smoking a lot. I know it is really bad for me, but it makes me feel good and reminds me of home: when I was smoking cigars and drinking Cognac with my dad late at night, talking about philosophical or political issues.
I just close my eyes, listen to some music very loudly, and cherish some memories of back home.
Cigarettes score: 3 to 5.
Time spent listening to music: at least 2 hours.
By 1 p.m., I’ve usually done some homework and talked more by text to my friends and family back in France. I feel that my belly is craving food, but I am scared of eating.
I do not enjoy eating here anymore, and it gets me anxious. I always wait for the last moment to have lunch, because I want to enjoy my food. It always tastes better when you’re craving it, right?
So, that’s what I do. Because its feels like the food has no taste. When I first got here, I did not really pay attention to that. Now, I realize it every day. And feeling like you’ve lost your taste sense really gets to your nerves.
Cigarettes score: 5 to 7.
Time spent listening to music: at least 4 hours.
At 4 p.m., I usually remember that it is 1 a.m. back in France, and that hardly anyone will be able to talk to me anymore. I feel bad, and I intend to open up to life back in reality.
So, it’s usually the time when I start my homework, and am actually productive. Sometimes, I also have classes at that time so I just go, and it makes me feel better. Some other times, I just contact my friends from here, and try to find out what they are doing. Usually, they are at the library studying. But I do not feel comfortable at the library, so I do not go. I just end up staying at home focusing on homeworks.
Cigarettes score: up to 10.
Time spent listening to music: at least 7 hours.
By 8 p.m., I usually get super sad. I am tired of school, I feel like it’s never over. I have classes here, but I also take online classes for my school back in France.
I always have assignments going on. I think about my country, it just obsesses me. So, I just stop working and I go on my computer or on Netflix to watch French-speaking content. It makes me feel better. It is like I’m in my private little bubble where everything feels good and familiar. Some other times, I’m in class. And sometimes, I like to stroll around outside to get some air, too.
Cigarette score: way too much.
Time spent listening to music: not enough.
At 10 p.m., my roommate is always back from work. And I’m back from classes. My roommate is American. I love her, she’s the best. I always feel like home when she’s around. It makes me feel complete, and so I just spend time with her. We do not really need to talk to enjoy each other’s company, and that’s what I like about our relationship: either we talk about deep subjects, or we just remain silent. We have started watching a show together, so sometimes we watch some episodes. As she eats dinner, I remember that I should feed myself too, even if I’m not hungry. And I feel better.
By 1 a.m., I do not really feel the need to talk to my friends and family from back in France anymore, even if it’s morning time for them. Having hung out with my roommate made me feel better. So, I usually pass out to a French show that I watch on my tablet. It makes me feel like I’m rocked. And then I sleep a full night before waking up again at around 9.
That’s generalizing my daily life, but do not worry: Usually every day, I also go out and actually do stuff. I love to go to Balboa Park, downtown, to the beach, or simply having lunch or stroll around outside. I love to listen to music while being outdoors.
If you experience homesickness too, always remember to have routines, talk to your family and make time for things that make you feel comfortable. It really helps!
If you want to follow my musical journeys
Here are some playlists from my “Mood” folder that I’m listening on repeat mode nowadays
- “Blue but fine”
(a subtle mix of alternative, electro-chill and pop songs):
- “Showering like a champ”
(my daily bathroom mix, full of pumping up alternative treasures):
- “Ma bulle française”
(which means “my French bubble” – obviously, full of French songs): https://open.spotify.com/user/1128265484/playlist/1uieFjqTH6GZjt71WddcLQ
Enjoy and see you next week! Good luck on everybody’s finals may you have some this week 🙂 !
Floriane Simondet is a graduate exchange student from France, majoring in business administration.