I’m warning you now, this will be the lamest blog ever written.
It seems that since I arrived in the petri dish that is an international dorm, I have picked up every foreign disease this side of malaria. Currently, I have absolutely no voice except for the occasional squeak along with a whole host of cold symptoms including a bark like a seal with a bad cold. I’m checking Amazon right now to see if I can find a sterilized bubble.
But by far, the worst disease that I’ve come down with so far has been homesickness. Although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, this past week several things (both medical and social) came to a head that had me one confirmation button away from booking a flight back to Calgary. I’ve said before how SFU International warned me about culture shock. My outbound exchange manual lists some of the symptoms as:
• constant strain
• feeling isolated or helpless
• sleeping a lot, tiring easily or not sleeping
• suffering from various body pains and aches
• longing to be back home
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
I thought that since I had moved before by myself to Vancouver at the age of 17 for school, that I would have already been inoculated. Between having no school, no OK Program, an immense language barrier, dull weather, and the fact I’m still searching to find “my group” here, it’s been a bit of a rough go. To help keep my head above water, I’ve been listening to music obsessively. Music is hands down some of the best medicine, but never as good as great friends. There’s a song by Hey Rosetta called “Young Glass” that has a line in it saying,
“Even though I thought I was all alone, I was wrong.
Even though I thought I was all alone, I am not.”
While I may not have discovered my Austrian BFF yet, my friends/family in Canada and abroad have been a stronger crutch than I could have ever imagined. Despite the eight hour time difference, every Facebook chat or email of encouragement/calming words/a well timed laugh or commiseration has kept me from packing my things. I’m only a month in and so, of course, I expect things to still be more awkward and uncomfortable than a junior high dance. But it doesn’t make things easier. Exchange is this massive melting pot of good and bad, breathtaking and frustrating, and you don’t get the option to pick around all the gristle. Hearing that how I’m feeling is not only normal but that it will get better has given me a second wind.
That Hey Rosetta! song ends with:
“And even if you’re scared stiff, you can trust in this, you can trust in this.”
Even though I’m here on my own, I’m hardly alone. I’ve got some of the best friends and family that I can trust to be behind me.
So, to everyone: thanks.