Studying abroad makes everything else suck. Before I studied abroad I thought my life was pretty okay. I was going to school, volunteering, and babysitting to make some money. Normal stuff. I have friends, we went shopping, out to dinner, to see movies, took weekend trips but now none of that seems to be enough. I realize how pitiful I may sound but if you’ve studied abroad or lived/worked in another country other than the one you grew up in you probably understand. For instance, today I went to H&M in my local mall. For the most part the clothes in the H&M’s I went to in Europe and the one’s in the US are exactly the same however it’s still NOT THE SAME. They were playing songs that you hear on Top 40 stations. In Leiden they played music you’d hear on a Top 40 station at least 5 years ago. And weirdly enough… I miss that! The people working in the H&M’s I went to in Europe were dressed what I’d consider rather normal and here they are completely hipstered out to the max.
You try waking up in the NETHERLANDS everyday for over 4 months then try coming back to NORTH CAROLINA and tell me it doesn’t suck a little. Not like there’s anything particularly wrong with North Carolina it’s just so empty and plain to me. Don’t get me wrong I love the beach and the mountains… NC has both. Raleigh is… okay I guess. It’s growing and there’s new stuff popping up all the time. I’ve realized it’s not where I want to be permanently but it works for now. I’m attempting to make the best of it. I mean in comparison to a weekend trip to Paris a weekend trip to Wilmington just isn’t in the same ball field. Maybe I’m just jaded, I don’t know.
What I do know is I miss Europe. Waking up and going to work each day is just not cutting it for me. That’s not life to me. I’ve explained this to the people close to me many times. I see no point in working a job to afford a place to live in order to have a place to go to sleep so you can wake up and go to work. GAH. So pointless! Another thing… it seems as though SO MANY people I’m around are doing things just because they feel like they have to or that it’s just what you do at this particular time in your life. Why? So you’re supposed to graduate high school, go to college, get a job, after college you get married, after that you have kids, buy a house and furnish it with all things Pottery Barn, buy an SUV or two, go on trips to typical and predictable tourist locations, shop at Baby Gap, buy and prepare all organic meals, host jewelry parties… I’ll stop because I think you get the point. To me that stuff is so meaningless. When you die do you think people are going to think wow that Amy and Jim had REALLY cute strollers and great Tupperware. I certainly hope not. I just cannot fathom myself turning out like that. And because of that I feel out of place big time. Although I feel like I shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to live life how we want to right?
I think back on living in Leiden and I don’t remember struggling with this at all. It was freedom there. And no, not just because I didn’t have any rent to pay, no job to go to and hardly any responsibilities. I realize that part of the experience was unrealistic. Despite the fact I dislike the daily grind I do understand that because of the way society is set up I am required to have some sort of income if I want to hold a particular standard of living. Okay so… as I was saying while living there I felt happy I felt like people were just being themselves and letting me be myself. I really miss that. There was no pressure to complete a checklist of cliche rights of passage. Now that I’m back I’m still trying to navigate my way through my much too typical life. It’s not like I want to be someone special I just want to be happy. Maybe I’m just impatient and expect things to happen instantaneously. There goes my typical American need for instant gratification. I’m working on it.