The End of an Era (Well Really 6 Weeks)

It is truly amazing how much has changed in 6-weeks. I have gone from feeling like a complete foreigner in this country to being comfortable going to restaurants and talking to employees at stores about current events. My body has adapted to eating at 8:30 at night and never seeing the sun set. Seriously, I feel like the sun never completely sets here, it’s still a little bright at midnight! I have gone from having been to 1 French city to visiting 6 different metropolitan areas in France. I have discovered that I actually do like cats (Who knew?). My host family has two cats, Fripouille and Minette, and they are the sweetest cats I have ever met. I also learned that I enjoy soccer. I had never watched a professional soccer match before my trip and with the World Cup I watched at least 4 or 5 games a week, and I really enjoyed them. It was bittersweet to leave France. I had come to love my host family and all the other students on the trip, but I also really missed my family and the city of Pittsburgh. Since being home I have experienced a little bit of reverse culture shock, especially when it comes to the language. I keep accidentally answering my parents in French when they ask me a question, and sometimes I expect to see my host family sitting in the living room when I get up in the morning.  I feel like I learned so much from this trip academically, personally, and culturally and it is hard to reconcile all of my experiences into my life back at home. I do not want to forget all the French I learned, but it is hard to practice when no one at home speaks the language. I want to talk about my adventures, but sometimes I feel like I’m bragging or boring people. I think it is going to take a little more time to figure out how to readjust and to find the right balance, but I would not trade to experiences I had for anything. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and I would like to thank everyone who played a part in helping to make a lifelong dream of mine come true. I cannot wait to continue my studies and utilize the skills I have developed both in my classes and in my future career plans. ASiecinski10.jpg