Sunday, June 11, 2017

Can we shrink the Atlantic?

>> Hello, Bowling Green <<

I love that this porch on East Merry Avenue is where I make many of my fondest college memories.

How do I reflect on my year abroad? 

In theory it’s so simple to blog about my year in Strasbourg, but in reality it’s so hard. I want to say everything correctly… I don’t want to oversell or undersell what this year means to me. 

Here, I’ll recap the past couple days. 
On Friday, I woke up to messages from my Dutch friend Floris. Before 6am, I replied because I knew he’d be asleep by the time I looked at my phone again at the end of the day. My supervisor with Owens Corning is working out of The Netherlands, so it’s been fun to talk to Floris about the connections I’m able to make.

Later in the day on Friday, I set up a touchbase with one of my internship coordinators who’s on an international rotation working out of Chambery, France. It’s really convenient to know firsthand that the time difference is six hours, and I have a little extra appreciation for my mom fielding 6am calls here and there throughout last year when I couldn’t wait until my afternoon to talk to her.  

At the end of my workday, my supervisor sent me an email addressing a long list of fairly technical questions. I have a special appreciation for him because I know that message was send at 10:35pm Dutch time.
Oh, and there was that day a few weeks ago when my study abroad friend Troy (from Perrysburg who studies at OSU) came by with Alsacian wine before he headed up to NYC for his internship this summer.
Yesterday, I got messages from two different Spanish friends, Rodri and Benji, just checking in. It was early afternoon my time, and evening their time. It was great to hear from both of them, and catch up a bit on their lives. I had to listen to Rodrigo’s audio messages a couple times to understand him because I’m not used to his accent anymore.

Kelsey I went to Put-in-Bay with her sister and friends. While we were there, we found a Biergarten... although it was early in the day and we were just buying iced coffees, I definitely enjoyed remembering some authentic biergartens from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. 

This morning, I woke up to messages from my girlfriends. Ana finally made a gmail account to share all of our videos from her GoPro from our trip in October. The account is set up in Portuguese, but I was able to navigate around to find the videos. It was so shocking to realize that was eight months ago. I wasted an hour this morning watching videos that really feel like yesterday…

The girls and I keep up through a group on Instagram since Kika and I both deleted Snapchat. Natalia just got home to Colombia this week, so now Cintia’s the only one still abroad. She’s Brazilian, and she’s working an internship in Lisbon this summer.
Our last night out in Strasbourg fall semester (missing a few of the essentials in this photo)
 Pretty much every day, Kelsey and I call out little things here and there that remind us of certain things in Europe. It’s super nice to have her here because we can talk about the little differences without annoying each other. We talk about what we miss a ton (the price of produce and beautiful cities) and what we don’t miss at all (the price of meat and public transportation).

I was gone for a year, and even though everything about me feels just a little bit different, my friends treat me like nothing has changed. It’s the perfect situation.
Erica, thanks for suggesting the coming home party for us, and Bre, thanks for being my pseudo-big.
I feel the cacophony of old thoughts and new experiences melting together still… There’s a lot of messy feelings of bittersweet, comfort, and distance being back home. I feel like I’m a world away from my European best friends, but I also wake up most days super thankful to know I’ll end my day out on the porch with my best friends who I’m lucky I don’t have to cross an ocean to see.

So I guess this is the reflection I have for now. I hope you’re underwhelmed because it’s been an underwhelming experience for me to try to reflect as well. There’s not much reflection going on because I don’t feel like I sit and look back on my time abroad… It’s not something to look back on… It’s something that impacts the way I spend my time almost every day. Reflection sounds too passive to describe the active nature of study abroad’s effect on my life.

In the coming weeks, I’ll post some pointers for friends studying abroad, and I may also post on my greatest lessons learned. Those posts sound more reflective, so maybe I’ll get there eventually.

Today marks 40 days in America, and I’ve been too busy to be sad about it yet. 

Loves, Jules

And... I miss this city already.

P.S. By the way, it's really nice to be home with my family. They're the actual best.

This was from a bike ride with Kate before Momma and I both chopped off all of our hair.

No comments:

Post a Comment