I thought I was cool. No, like really, I did. I studied abroad for a semester in Paris. I lived in one of the most beautiful places with one of the best families I have ever met. I made the coolest friends, hung out at the most hip places in town, walked on the Champs-Elysees and toured the top of the Eiffel Tower. I even bought a blue, canvas Longchamp bag thinking I was different than everyone back home in the States. Haha.
So, when I got back to my University’s campus and notice at least 20 other Longchamp bags, see friends with tattoos (I got one too while abroad), notice new haircuts, or something else that was life changing or defining, I felt out of my element. I wanted to come back to San Francisco feeling strong, different, and a bit changed because of the culture shock and transition I had experienced. How else was I supposed to stand out in a city of 800,000?
That’s when I started to realize through my hectic schedule that I shouldn’t worry about being different. I already am different. I have lived experiences all over the place that no one else will get to experience, made friends with people who may never come to the US, and most of all, I have matured and slowly grown into an independent, young woman. While living in a different country on a foreign continent, I learned to trust myself and handle things in my own way.
I’m happy to be back in San Francisco. I’m also glad that things are looking up and I’ve had a positive outlook on life since my arrival back from Europe. It’s strange some of the thoughts you have while being so far from home. In the end, though, I’m glad to be back in the States and continuing my education in San Francisco.