I know it’s been a while and I have quite a few back posts to catch up on but I wanted to start with the most recent and work backwards … it’s easier this way 😀
I just returned back to the USA for a two month stint after spending the last 3 months in Marseille. I have now been in Marseille a total of 13 months (taking away the breaks in the States) and it absolutely feels like home now. this is not to say that I don’t often hate being there and that homesickness doesn’t creep in and ruin some days but Marseille does feel normal and I have my routine. I am no longer scared to venture out, to travel alone, to ask questions at a grocery or market or to complain if something isn’t right. I am definitely becoming French and I don’t mind it so much.
I often miss my family, our crazy American orangey cheeses (Monterey jack, cheddar, velveeta?!? 😉 ), speaking English but France is my new normal. I had a few reverse culture shocks coming home. not all have been bad. My family picked me up at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky Airport after my direct flight from Paris (Delta) where I had a middle row (3 seats) to myself!!! Fly on a Tuesday into a small airport, best choice ever! We then drove my car up to Pittsburgh where I had a poster presentation of my PhD research to give the following day. Luckily, jet-lag coming back home isn’t nearly as difficult to get over! Two days later I drove by myself on to Penn State where I’ll be for quite a few weeks, working. As my parents pulled away and I drove on, alone, I got super sad and lonely. I started thinking about how sad these next few weeks would be. I would be away from my normal, my comfortable routines, the foods I am used to eating, the sites I am used to seeing, the courses I normally run and of course my boyfriend, whom I had luckily had the chance to see every weekend since I had returned in January. I know I will settle in, and honestly, after only a few days, I feel better but it’s so odd. After only 1.5 years, France is my new normal. I don’t know if I want to live there forever, or whether it will be my forever vacation destination, but a large portion of my heart and mind stays there. Of course with my BF but also with France itself.
Upsides to being in the USA: driving my car!! Something I didn’t realize I would miss, but it’s relaxing and freeing to not be at the whim of Marseillaise buses and public transport in general. Taking a 12 mile run in the snow and freezing temps, passing 3-4 other runners all of whom say hi, wave, smile and one even gave me a high-5!! In France, runners pretend not to notice one-another. It’s depressing. Here, we celebrate each other!
Downsides: Living in a college town = college students. I am so over that. Non-healthy options EVERYWHERE and all of them insanely delicious! … The cold. I had been lucky in Marseille with our 60F temps with sunshine for nearly 3 weeks. I arrive in State college to 32 degree temps with snow. I had to run outside yesterday (as discussed above) in the snow. Super hard! Being away from my awesome BF. Seriously, he’s a catch. We just celebrated our 1-year anniversary. I super miss that boy. Luckily, he joins me in NYC (his first time in the USA!) May 9th for a stay in NYC, then Kentucky (meeting the fam!) and then to Chicago for a few days. Should be fantastic and it gives me so much to look forward to!
I’ll leave this update at that. Right now I am doing all sorts of to-do’s … running (18 miles this Saturday, wish me luck), I have 9 weeks til my Marathon in Mont St. Michel! Doctors apts (I have insurance here at Penn State, may as well use it!),. catching up with Friends, preparing for conferences, presentations, etc. Hopefully I can fill you in on my last few months in Marseille soon as well. Lots to tell! As always, thanks for reading!
à bientôt !
ps. as an avid University of Kentucky Basketball fan I must say … GO CATS ! We made it to the Final Four ! Great games and a wonderful time to return to the States. March (april) Madness continues !!