Little Study Abroad Things, Part I

I know that’s a really vague title, but I don’t have a better way to explain it, so… This list documents everything study abroad-related that’s happened since the beginning of the semester up through the end of finals, and I’ll probably start a new one for J-term and the spring.

  • At Home Depot, I probably got more excited about the fact that I could self-checkout in French than the plant that I was buying.
  • Apparently I can no longer listen to the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. It was on a playlist I was listening to, and I immediately had to skip to the next song, because it reminded me of study abroad and Rome and was thus too painfully nostalgic.
  • It’s kind of sad when you smile at and want to hug a bottle of soap because it reads “Provence Collection.” (Provence is the region of France where Nice is located.)
  • I’ve found myself staring down at subs from the Commons, hoping that the bread will somehow turn into baguettes. Similarly, I’ve eyed the ice cream at Estes, wondering if it’ll magically morph into gelato. So far, both endeavors have been fruitless.
  • Several of my friends and I went to Richmond, embarking on a desperate journey for bubble tea. As we drove along narrow streets, I found myself gazing out the window, missing urban life and having this sudden urge to get out of the car and just explore the city.
  • Sometimes I realize that I can still keep in touch with the friends I made while studying abroad via the Internet—and however sporadic the contact is, it never fails to make me smile.
  • While Mediterranean weather is gorgeous year-round, there’s a distinct visual lack of seasons. After a year without autumn, the changing leaves are so much more beautiful now. Also, I get to hear leaves and pinecones crunch beneath my feet when I step on them.
  • I really appreciate the fact that it’s so easy to form and maintain close relationships with professors, given that our campus is so tiny.
  • I’m so used to writing papers in French, English papers are now a struggle. For example, I kept wanting to use French transitions…and then I had to look up “bouleverser” in a French-English dictionary to figure out what the English equivalent was. Do bilinguals deal with this on a daily basis? How do my French professors function?
  • One of my roommates and I were trying to figure out what constituted an “extra heavy” load of laundry, so we opened the washing machine to read the inside of the lid. Or, she read the lid. I only ended up confusing myself because the information had been printed in both English and French, and I couldn’t figure out which one I was supposed to be reading.
  • When we had to meditate during my religion class, it devolved into me thinking in French and mentally reconstructing the layout of Nice in my head, thanks to the ocean sounds coming from the computer.
  • I was working on a French essay, and I was so in the mindset of thinking in French that I accidentally replied to a Facebook chat in French.
  • When my roommate mentioned that the video game she was playing was set in Revolutionary France, I promptly lost interest in my homework.
  • At the cost of sounding like a nerd, being able to do research in two different languages is quite nifty.
  • My sense of time is so screwed up. I keep thinking of France as spanning an entire year, so I think that anything that happened in 2014, before I went to France, happened two years ago.
  • I experienced a mini-enlightenment when I realized that I could read the news in both French and English.
  • Why do people keep asking me if I miss France? Leave me alone. Just looking at a map of France makes me nostalgic. (Basically, the answer is yes. I miss it every day.)
  • It’s a strange sensation, when your French final is the exam that you’re the least worried about. Writing an essay in French in three hours? Okay. That’s doable.