44 Days

From SU Strasbourg student Katie’s blog.

I’ve just survived midterms and a ridiculous 15-page paper on radical right-wing parties in Europe. But, all is well because I’m going to DUBLIN Thursday for St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

Midterm week was depressing for two reasons…

1) Well, it’s midterms. I may be a nerd, but writing an in-class essay on NATO doesn’t exactly blow my skirt up (must give Nick credit for this expression he’s coined).

2) It means I’m halfway done with the semester and that much closer to going back to the U.S.

I marked March 4th, the halfway point of the semester, in my planner the first week I got here and flipped through the pages thinking how far away it was. I remember holding between my fingers the pages from January 4th to April 29th and saying to myself “This is it. This all I have…” I told myself that this semester was for me. No regrets.

Four months seemed like a lot at first, but I’m convinced that time passes exponentially faster when you’re abroad. In fact, I counted today and I’m down to 44 days. What a coincidence. (Non-Syracause kiddies, sorry if you don’t get it).

  • 44 more morning breakfast conversations with Nou Nou—black coffee, ghetto French fruit loops and un-chilled milk, orange juice and a clementine.
  • 44 more morning walks along the river to class every morning with “Beautiful Day” blasting on my iPod.
  • 44 more times to walk up those steps on Rue Schiller and punch in the security code to the building that my fingers know unconsciously.
  • 44 more coffee éclairs from Patrick’s…well, make that 88…I get two a day.
  • 44 more nights to lean out of my window and look out at the European Parliament and close my eyes for a second and breathing in the air before closing my shutters.

I could go on, because that’s the way I’ve started thinking about everything lately. It makes me sad, but I know if I don’t force myself to start realizing how quickly time is passing, I’ll look back and hate myself for it.

I sat here tonight and stared at the computer screen for an hour, trying to write my French paper on “What you learn from studying abroad.” I got angry and frustrated because well, there are no words to describe it. There really aren’t. Pictures, stories, blogs…none of it can come close to explaining what you take away from this experience.

It’s why I can’t stand it when people ask me “How’s France?” What am I supposed to say? “Great!” “Amazing!” “Incredible!” Nothing does it justice. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that when I come back to the U.S., I’m not going to be able to tell anyone about my time abroad because unless you’re here, you just don’t get it. It sounds so arrogant, but it’s the truth.

For the time being, I’ve stopped worrying about it and what I’m going to say to people when I come home. I’ve taken away from this semester more than I could ever ask for, and that’s enough for me. I don’t need to share it with anyone else.

So for the next 44 days, I’m continuing my life abroad and savoring every breathing moment of it. For me. No regrets.

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