For the past week, I was out sick with the stomach flu. I didn't leave my apartment once, except to visit a German doctor in the 11th arrondisement who asked me why, if I was a student in France, I spoke such bad French. But I responded in French, so, you know, progress!
All I did for six days was sleep, throw up and watch Scandal
, an amazing Shonda Rimes show about politics that is insanely juicy and has tons of conspiracies and sex scandals
, so basically everyone in the world should be watching it. But once I had binge-watched every episode of Scandal
in 22 hours, everything was super boring. And painful! For a while I couldn't focus on anything and just lay in bed trying to pretend I was a sloth and stretching my arms very, very slowly.
It was not a particularly interesting week. I actually got sick of wearing pajamas. I didn't know that was possible.
All of this lying around, and, most importantly, being unable to consume delicious food, or even regular food, really made me miss daily life as a student in France. After school each day I try to switch up my routine, to go on a walk somewhere I haven't been, to read in a café I like whilst drinking one of France's trademark tiny espressos. I try not to buy too many pain au chocolats (this is a struggle). I am not always successful at trying to maintain a non-routine. More often than not, I head home and nap and attempt to memorize French verbs.
I think that's the hard part (i.e. super first world problem) of studying abroad. It's important, and can be hard, to find to a balance between living one's daily life and taking advantage of everything that your chosen city has to offer. More often than not, I find myself wishing I'd come for a full year. The weeks seem to be slipping by too quickly. Every time that I head straight home because I'm exhausted, or want to go see an English movie, or get the same Vietnamese salad for lunch three days in a row, I kick myself and wonder if I'm wasting my time.
On a different level, routine is one of the best things about living
in a foreign country, as opposed to just traveling through. It's a wonderful feeling when the guy at my favorite vegetable stand remembers my name, or when the waitress at the café around the corner remembers that I like café noisette
. I like that I have a favorite bench to read on in the Jardin des Plantes.
These little things add up to a comfortable life.
Daily life will get in the way. I can't spend every day as a tourist gazing at monuments or whatever. Passing one's classes is reasonably important. But I do think I need to try harder at taking advantage of my free time. Scandal
is on a three-week hiatus, so this might work out.