I have to start this post with an apology for missing last week. This month has not shown a particularly organized side of me. I have two reasons, at least. I wrapped up one of my writing courses this week. And as this post goes live I will be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on my way home from Europe.
The past two weeks saw me go on the trip of a lifetime (squeezing in coursework where I able) and coming home is bittersweet. I miss my cats, family and friends, and my routine, but I am going to miss the culture and art, the food and relaxed days, the sightseeing and my travel companion.
I haven’t even had a chance to absorb everything that I saw and did…I’m still in a daze because I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to visit London and Paris in the next ten years let alone three months after I decided to take my companion up on their invitation to go.
Being so far from home and going to a country where I barely speak the language was a chance to experience culture shock on a far grander scale than I ever have before—going to a resort in Mexico hardly counted.
Walking out of the Gare du Nord after getting off the Euro Star from London, walking the cold, litter-filled streets of Paris, then entering the Metro where everyone headed to their destinations with severity and French blared from the speakers while I tried to lug my too-heavy baggage out of their way was shocking. My junior high French was a life-saver because I think my anxiety would have been out of control had I been completely unable to comprehend the words around me.
London was much different. I was somewhat dazed by the amount of people, the hustle and bustle, and not knowing any of my surroundings, yet I was still able to understand everything—I didn’t realize how comforting that is. I’ve always had an appreciation for people who come to a country to live and don’t know the language whatsoever; the fear and disorientation must be immense. I have a greater appreciation now is about all I can say.
This trip has given me so much writing fodder; not just the culture shock but the people watching and the history. I had so much fun walking and gawking, going on day trips to places I could hardly imagine, and seeing so many bookstores—London has one of every block it seems, and the quays along the Seine in Paris offer so many books in so many languages. It was hard to resist!
I promise I’ll have a real post up next week since it’s back to the grind!