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Returning to the USA

Hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? I said in my last post I'd probably post within the next week, but look how that worked out. Oops.

I've now been "home" for just over a month now. I put "home" in "quotation marks" because almost as soon as I got back to Chicagoland, I packed up a suitcase again and left for Europe. Again. But now I'm back home for good, well, at least until school starts.

People talk about reverse culture shock, how it's almost worse than normal culture shock. In one of my posts while I was in France I talked about how I didn't think I experience culture shock while there, so I guess it makes sense that a similar thing might happen here. Though maybe it's because my family met up with me in France so I had a little bridge between Strictly French Culture and Strictly American Culture.

Being back was really weird in the sense that coming back wasn't weird. Like at all. Sure, life had continued without me for five months, but it was almost as if I had never left. I was pretty tired, but I adjusted to the time change after a night (roughly twenty hours of travel and no sleep messed up my internal clock enough that I suspect it just reset as soon as I went to sleep). I went out with friends the day after I got back, and spent a lot of time in my room doing random projects during the week.

Things I Missed doing in France that I did in my First Week Back

  • Order Jimmy John's. A lot.

IMG_8388I don't know about you, but JJ's is usually my go-to food when I'm with friends or  just want something fast. Here's my first JJ's sandwich and root beer back 

  • Go to breakfast at our local diner with a huge group of friends

IMG_8447In total there were 14 of us. We were that group

  • Play Magic: The Gathering, which was a bit annoying since I was out of practice
  • Play a ton of complicated board games with large groups of people
  • Make s'mores

IMG_8494The first s'mores in 5 months sure taste pretty good

  • abuse my unlimited texting and data plan

I'm Showing Vacation Photos (sorry)

I said at the top of this post and mentioned it in previous posts that I went with my family to the north of France for about a week after leaving Montauban. Then, after being home for ten days, I went and left for ten days to go to Germany and Italy. 

These were both rather interesting experiences because I had just finished being in a foreign place and trying as hard as possible to integrate myself as a local - then I went and was very obviously a tourist.

IMG_7587In Toulouse with my families, my last day in Southern France

IMG_1162At the airport, about to go through security for the flight to Paris

In Paris we did a pretty standard set of sight seeing:

  • Notre Dame Cathedral (pronounced noh-trah dahm, not noe-ter day-m)
  • L'Arc de Triomphe
  • Tour Eiffel (of course)
  • Sacre-Coeur
  • Versailles (I guess that's not actually in Paris but shhhhh)

IMG_1184In front of l'Arc de Triomphe

Going to Italy and Germany with a school group was interesting because I could understand probably about 50-60% of the written Italian I encountered because of its relation to French as a Romance Language. And, if I listened very carefully, I could understand a fair amount of what was being said. It was cool to me that, even though I had practically no exposure to any Italian, I was still able to comprehend so much of it just because of my knowledge of French. Of course, I wouldn't have been able to say anything even if I tried really hard, and in German I was completely helpless, but that's a different story. 

  IMG_8832Some friends and me in front of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice

So...What now?

I go back to school for my junior year. I'll sleep during take AP French and casually collapse under my workload after becoming accustomed to the French school system. I'm raising chickens that arrived shortly after my return to the US, and trying desperately to get my life together before school starts. I fully expect school to be the hardest thing to adjust back to.

 People (parents) occasionally mention that I've changed, and I probably have. It's like my French. I'm positive I improved in French, but I didn't notice while it happened. It's changes that happen so subtly and under-the-radar that you don't even notice until someone points them out, and even then you're not sure they're right.

Anyways, I have no idea how to end this, so I guess I'll do it like this:

Bye, for an indefinite period of time. I might add something once school starts talking about adjusting back, but personally that hasn't been too much of a struggle so what I say (...try to sleep normally and have fun?) probably will not be very helpful.

See ya!