China Series: Disenchantment

Boy am I homesick as the holiday season rolls around yet once again.

Where is “home?” Right now, it’s somewhere with continuous sunshine under a blue sky, and brunch. Preferably I’d have both, simultaneously. Maybe a view of the beach thrown in here and there. Definitely not what I see out my window every morning when I open my eyes. I want to prepare for the “cold” season by surrounding myself with autumn-themed decor, ordering hot cups of sugar water from Starbucks, and listening to that never-ending loop of preemptive Christmas music.

But alas, it is but a wish, even with Santa in the picture.

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The Pros and Cons of Prague: My Two Month Czech-in

Tomorrow marks two months since I arrived in Prague, and the halfway point of my time here. I can’t make up my mind whether I feel like I’ve been here a longer or shorter time than that. Time feels like it passes differently for me while I’m over here. I think this is because I am so far out of my normal routine.

I think missing home is natural, and my occasional moments of brooding have inspired me to compile a list (in no particular order) of what I’ve been missing most from home. To keep things balanced, and to avoid this post being just a negative rant, I will follow with a list of things that I definitely do not miss.

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Ciao Italia! Dealing with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad

I have been in Italy for about a week so far, and have found myself in a constant state of wonder.

From making my way to Verona by train with my limited Italian skills, to understanding the bus system, to learning the differences in their grocery stores, my whole time abroad has been a wonderful (though frightening) cultural experience.

However, though of course Italy has been generally wonderful so far, it has been far from easy to adjust to the Italian ways and the distance from home. Commonly, this is referred to as culture shock.

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Thoughts of Home Will Keep Me Warm

Growing up in sunny southern California, I am not accustomed to a lifestyle where the warmest weather maybe reaches 60 degrees for one hour and it rains on and off for days. A friend I made here who’s from Chicago definitely does not complain about the weather as much as I do.

Then there were days I felt absolutely restless. Other days I felt vaguely frustrated. I thought maybe I just needed a bit more sleep. Or a bit more caffeine in my system.

I began to recognize these were signs of being homesick kicking in as I traced back my frustrations. I wasn’t sure how to deal with it as it never truly sunk in when I first moved out for college. Then I received a timely e-mail from my health insurance provider about homesickness.

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Agur, Adios, Goodbye

[Agur: The equivalent of goodbye in Euskara]

Growing up isn’t easy. There’s never a right time to do it, it just kind of happens, whether you want it to or not. These past three months studying abroad have taught me so much. I’ve felt the growth within me and there were even times where I felt growing pains in my heart — if that’s even a real thing.

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5 Reasons Why I’m Homesick

In another article, a few weeks ago now, I talked about the phases I was experiencing here in the USA as an International Student. Indeed, first, I experienced a honeymoon, then discernment, and finally, conscience. In this last phase I was in at the time, I was talking about the fact that I still liked it here, but that I realized that I do not belong here, because I do not feel 100 percent connected to the culture.

Well, there is more now. At the end of my article, I was asking myself if there would be  more phases, and I am now right in the middle of a new one. Which is commonly called homesickness.

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A Valuable Lesson Learned

When I decided to take a journey across the world five months ago, the first thing I was warned about was homesickness. “The first week will be the hardest,” they said. “You’ll miss every little thing about home, especially the things you wouldn’t expect.” Professors, fellow students, family and friends reiterated this more times than I can count. They made the first week sound absolutely treacherous.

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