June 7, 2011


Where have I been the past two months, since the last time I posted on this blog? Where have I been the past nine months? Where has my life taken me from the moment that I stepped off the airplane in Brussels into a new and foreign world?

Nine months has taken me into a world that's no longer foreign.

When I got here, Belgium was a foreign country. Linkebeek was a dot on the map in a web of paths and narrow streets and railroads. Things were new, strange, exciting... yet scary. I didn't understand the language, the system, the culture; I could hardly do anything for myself. I was disoriented, disconnected, floating by myself in a new world, letting its currents take me wherever. I was vulnerable--there was a world around me that I didn't understand. And I didn't know where I would end up nine months later. I knew I would be different-- speak differently, think differently, look at life differently, but I didn't know what I would look like. How would that feel, thinking in French, speaking normally in French with my host family and my friends, going to school and understanding what was going on? What would life be like?

It is now nine months later.

The thing I didn't realize is that getting to the point in a foreign exchange where you can communicate normally and live life without confusion or strangeness doesn't feel like a giant change-- it just feels normal. Normal in the sense that you don't feel like you're consciously changing a part of yourself to fit in. The changes are there, you just feel them less. They have become habits.

I am immersed in this life, in this language, in this world-- and it feels normal. It's no longer a total immersion that presses onto me, but an immersion where I feel part of what goes on around me, part of my world. I can control my life here completely, or as completly as the world will let me. Being comfortable in this culture is not an odd feeling, or a foreign feeling, or a much different feeling from how I felt one year ago. It's just that one year ago, I felt comfortable in my own culture. Now, I feel comfortable in another.

And so, here I am writing again, a little over two months after my last post. In the weeks that come, I'm going to try to document some more of the life I'm living here-- because soon it will be changing.

1 comment:

  1. En train de lire ce que t'as écrit, j'ai les larmes dans les yeux et un trou dans mon cœur. Ha. C’est vraiment trop facile de me faire pleurer maintenant (ou presque, même). C’est juste que je ressente exactement la même chose…et je pense qu’on sent tous un peu comme ça. Notre vie maintenant est aussi normale que c’est possible d’être, mais peut-elle être jamais normale? Notre vie, elle va changer continuellement. C’est une belle chose à souvenir, mais parfois ça fait peur aussi.

    Je me demande si tu vas jamais voir ce commentaire.