Two years ago, in this moment, I was probably going to unpack my suitcase. I was back “home” since four days.
Home is in commas because for five months “home” was a small room in a student dorm, with kitchen and bathroom in common with twenty other students.
A matchbox in a Shining-like corridor: as soon as I saw it I wanted to go back pronto!
But when I got back, it was Home. With capital letter.
Who went through Erasmus knows it, has been through it… to all the others I might try to explain.
And to those who still wait to leave: maybe you think that this won’t happen to you, or you might want it, well… this is it.
In a couple of months, between forms, applications, results and so on, you’ll find yourself packing anything you think you’ll need for a LIFE abroad.
It’s true: you learn to ask for help, you learn to start over (good or bad that it is, where you’re going nobody, no one, knows who you are), make friends and share. Really. You’ll bond to a degree that nothing compares to it, and never will. But this is not the point, these are thing that who’s leaving soon will experience and who doesn’t have the chance to leave may experience with roommates or moving far away from home…
It hits when you come back. It’s waking up in a country, and going to sleep in another one, in a room that’s yours but not yours anymore.
You take an entire world back with you, you feel turned upside down and you feel bloody fine, and you also think that at “home” everything else has been turned upside down.
But then you realize that while you where away everything stayed the same, you just “were away”, like sleeping and dreaming a beautiful dream.
You haven’t dropped your luggage completely and your father’s already telling you about the chores you have to do, you go out to meet friends at night, you can’t wait but there they are, they’re *still* there. You’re not sorry, but you can’t tell what.
At night you almost fall out of the bed because it leans on a different wall.
For months you can’t name the place you’ve been, you just say “When I was in Erasmus” (because saying “When I was in Montpellier” – Swansea, Madrid or whatever – almost hurts, almost makes you cry), and you can still close your eyes and recall, after years, all the streets by heart, know where the sun shines at what time, remember the noises in the kitchen and the smells in the hallway.
And faces, names, voices…
I’m sorry to say there’s no cure, there are palliatives though: going back to visit as much as you can (possibly alongside someone you love, this is the only pale way you have to try to share all you keep inside), keep in touch with friends you made and, for those who fall in love (oh, you’ll be so free spirited and so *yours* that it will be very hard not to fall in love) get as close as you can.
(PS I have been very lucky: Mr Faun and I fell in love while I was abroad, but he lives here).
Another remedy: make yourselves independent again, I’m way too ready to fly the nest again! 😀