Coming Back…

‘You always want what you can’t have’ pretty much sums up attitudes to returning to foreign lands after Christmas. My friend who recently spent a semester in the states, and will not be going back, would love to be able to return. I however, having to spend the entire year abroad, was fairly apprehensive about coming back. The thing is; it’s really easy to live in your home country. Every time you go to do something, you’re not faced with the fear of being misunderstood and accidentally ordering a mint flavoured drink instead of mango (‘menthe’ and ‘mangue’ apparently sound quite similar when I attempt to say them). You know how to do things and where things are. All your friends and loved ones are within easy reach. So it’s scary when you’ve been allowed to return to the nest to be booted out again.
But let’s be honest, the challenge of living in a foreign country is exhilarating. Ordering a coffee becomes a minor triumph when you realise you’ve just successfully conversed with a local. Finding out how to retrieve a lost purse and even managing a joke with the friendly attendant becomes a bit of an adventure. You realise how much people at home mean to you and just how much it is worth doing long-distance with that special someone. Whilst you’re away you meet plenty of fantastic new people too, forming new friendships and learning about other cultures while you’re at it. Of course all these things are hard to remember as you step on the train, but after a few days of being back you remember just why you thought it would be a good idea to move to France. Even better, when you return you realise that your language skills have improved. You understand the bizarre bureaucracy, your lectures and local transport; which leaves you more time to relax and enjoy. Yet again the year abroad has taught me to ignore my fears and just get on with!

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