A change in the weather.
That was the story of this weekend.
From the time I woke up Thursday morning until now on Sunday evening as I’m sitting down to write this, I’ve been pretty sick.
Ok, it might just be cold – but after four long days of sniffles, headaches, nausea, and generally being confined to my bed – I’m sick of being sick!
A more positive change in weather is that we finally got a full weekend of sunshine! The past few days have honestly given us our first real taste of spring, and none of us could be happier. A break in the rain left us all out tanning on our southern facing terrace and enjoying the distant sea breeze. Even from my bed, the open doors and window made me feel so much better – even if just mentally.
I mean I understand everyone in the midwest is suffering from the cold, and I really do have sympathy for you. But we’re not dealing with just light rain here, folks. The sidewalk by the river is currently under about 15 feet of water. Speaking of currents….
So you know I’m not just making these things up.
Now of course I needed rest, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was wasting my sunny weekend by putting myself on house arrest. But you know what?
- I feel better today.
- There will be other sunny weekends.
- I went to London last weekend, and I’m headed to Venice in 5 days.
It took me a little while to come to this consensus, and along the way my I came up with this list. Apply it to your study abroad experience, or for most of you, your every day existence. Or just stop reading here, if that seems to fit you best.
Five Things You Should Stop Feeling Guilty About
1. Sleeping until noon, and then taking a nap
Excessive in some cases, but sometimes completely necessary. It’s ok to resist the “OMG WE ONLY HAVE 86 DAYS LEFT” sense of urgency and skip setting an alarm for Sunday morning. Yes, there’s so much to explore where ever you live, but do it on your own terms – you’ll take in more and have a better experience if you take it easy sometimes. There are also going to be many weekends of travel and non-stop plans. Save your sleeplessness for that.
2. Not doing homework
And not because you’re lazy, but because it just doesn’t exist. Pay attention in class, do your middle-school level assignments, forget how hard it was at the U, and proceed to step #3.
3. Watching Netflix
There’s such a stigma about watching too much TV. But I don’t even have a TV here, and after being in class from 8AM – 3PM plus 2 hours of walking to/from, I really just want to catch up on Bones. I mean how did I know I wanted to study abroad in the first place? Movies and TV, (Lizzie McGuire Movie took the cake, clearly). Lastly, if you figured out how to unlock Netflix in a foreign country, you really do deserve it. Props to you, lawbreaker.
4. Missing your family
Before I came abroad, I thought it was just some literally magical experience so awe-inspiring that feelings of homesickness would be completely absent over four months. News flash, I really miss the people in my life. A two-hour FaceTime is neither excessive nor time wasted – even if I’m just watching my mom cook breakfast or interrupting my dad’s workday. The people in your life will always be just as happy to hear from you, too. So long as you keep time changes in mind.
5. Missing anything else
I have dreams about Oreos and I have put serious thought in ordering Jif off of Amazon. I could go on and on about food, but I really miss so many things about America as a whole. But moving abroad for a few months isn’t for you to see how much better Europe is than America – it’s about enjoying a foreign culture because you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to, and realizing what a great culture you already come from.
So go ahead, lay in your cot-sized bed watching New Girl and texting your mom. And keep a little countdown calendar to keep track of how many days have passed and how many are left. And enjoy your time abroad – explore, learn, create, and more. But make sure you take a little down time to just be a college student, regardless of your coordinates.
Ciao, for now.