When 2017 started off, I was in a rut. I parted ways with my then host family due to scheduling issues, I had just finished up my first semester at the Sorbonne which was highly stressful and in all honesty, I was pretty worn out by a lot of personal things in my life. Jump ahead a few months, and though I am still struggling some mental battles, there are a lot of things to be grateful for in my life at the moment. Continue reading “2017 For Now”
No one told you about the loneliness. Not the happy, look at the Eiffel Tower loneliness… the sitting on the couch in your tiny studio apartment when you realize you haven’t spoken your native language in days loneliness. The loneliness of realizing that when you speak English, you start mixing all of the languages, and you begin to feel like you do not speak any one of them correctly. The loneliness of wanting to do things you used to do all the time – especially at this time of year. Pumpkin patches and hay rides, pumpkin carving and drinking apple cider. No one told you about how things back home change. How your best friends move on, move houses, break up, hook up… How your sister is no longer 15 but actually now 18 and will be going to the ballots to vote. Another important event in her life you will miss. Continue reading “What No One Told You About Being an Expat”
I grew up with a mother who had an accent. I remember a time when we were in the pool and she was speaking to me in Spanish (because our relationship is in Spanish) and someone told her to speak in English because she was in America. I remember at times having to translate her English so people could understand what she was trying to say. I never understood her frustration at times, because I understood my mother. I loved her accent. I wanted it at times because I thought it was the best sound in the world, coming home with friends who had never met her and surprised at my Spanish background (because I obviously don’t “look” like someone who speaks Spanish). It was something that made my mother unique (out of obviously the other countless things that do).
Then I moved abroad, and one day I got the accent. I can’t deny that these past two years I have been lucky to meet people that absolutely love the accent and are welcoming to their country. I got a reality check when I started school. I have met my fair share of people, who I am very lucky and fond of (they make sure I am following the classes and understand well, telling me if I ever need help they are a phone call away). I have also met people that roll their eyes and probably wonder how I ever got into the university.
Continue reading “You Don’t Know How Smart I Am”
I think there is a moment when living abroad that you begin to forget the distance between you and what used to be your old home. The old life is continuing without you, you are living life without it, and there comes a moment when you realize those two things are no longer connected. The only glue is the people you care about.
It starts with the little things, like the style of speaking, the style of clothing and those changes become bigger and bigger. One day you’re sitting in your apartment with a French acceptance letter into university, French books spilling from the walls, and you realize this is now your life. You are speaking a language that used to just be beautiful mumblings, you are making a life for you.
It hit me today while I was watching a soccer match with French people as they were yelling and cheering about their team scoring, and it reminded me of football season in America. But this was different. When I screw something up, or do something out of the cultural ordinary, I tend to say “well in America…” but then I wonder if it really is like that in America. Or is it me?
This is a rambling post, but it was an interesting feeling today. I felt far from my culture, the land that raised me, the people that made me, but I know that I will never be able to shake that off of me. It is who I am. I will never lose it. Though it feels far today, I can’t deny the feeling that everything that I am working for at the moment feels like what I need to be doing. I am proud of that.
If you are an expat, have you ever had a day like this?
It’s not that the words go over my head, it’s that sometimes the general slides right by. I bury myself into dissecting the phrase that sometimes, when I understand it, it takes me moments to realize it was all a joke.
He’s always smiling as he waits for me to get it, but sometimes the humor is different. Sometimes what he says isn’t funny, or maybe I don’t find it funny, or maybe he doesn’t find me funny at times. Jokes and kidding… I’ve realized it can sometimes be the base of cultures.
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I went to London a few weekends ago with the French man, and being in territory that spoke my language hurt my head. I was so excited to be able to explain myself without having to search for words every two phrases. I tried speaking to everyone, meaning from the taxi drivers (most were actually quite, surprisingly nice compared to French taxi drivers), our hotel hostess and the barmen. But it took time to readjust to my own language. It was somewhat of a culture shock to be able to read everything and not have to ask about certain words or look them up in the dictionary (or google translate). I can’t deny that I was excited to hear the English accent as well. Continue reading “London Skyline”