I've been home for a little over two weeks now, giving me lots of time both to readjust to life in America and look back on my months abroad. So for the next week or so, I thought I'd post some of my reactions to the trip as a whole. To start though, I thought I'd look at America.
It's funny how going abroad makes you learn both more about the country you're visiting and the country you left. Before going to Greece, I had only been abroad once (to Paris, for a week) and I thought of Europe as this magical, beautiful place with tons of history and style and charm. I always believed I was meant to be European, not American, and that I'd jump at the chance to someday live in Europe.
And I still would jump at the chance to live in Europe. That hasn't changed. I want to live abroad someday, for more than just three and a half months, and I wouldn't mind living somewhere like London forever. But living in Greece made me realize how much I do love a lot of what we have here in America. I don't know if I was "meant" to be European or if I was meant to be American. I think it's more about cities that fit your personality than entire countries. Someday I would love to live in a vibrant city like London, Paris, or New York, or maybe someplace quieter like the Irish countryside. The only thing I'm really sure of is that I don't want to live in Missouri the rest of my life.
Before I get carried away, let's just go to the list. For this first reflection post I'm going to look at . . .
Things I Missed Most About Home
|One of the pups mentioned below.|
1. Friends and family and pups. Obviously.
2. Free water at restaurants. And refills. I'm so used to free water in America that when I went to Europe, the fact that I had to pay for it (and usually paid way too much) felt like a cruel joke. We need water to live! They can't just say no! But they can and they will and the fee is usually so exorbitant (especially in big cities like Paris and London) that you might as well get wine, iced tea, or soda since it's pretty much the same price.
3. Shower-heads that aren't hanging on hooks near your knees. Three cheers for keeping shower-heads where they belong (near our heads)! So you don't have to turn off the water constantly, so you don't freeze every time the water goes off, and so you can use two hands because you aren't trying to hold the shower-head over your goose-bumped body!
4. A full closet of clothes. Sure it was nice to know that I could get by on the basics, but did I really want to? Not at all. It's amazing to actually have choices when I get dressed in the morning. You have no idea how tired I got of those same tee-shirts and shoes every single day.
5. Target, malls, and big grocery stores. No explanation needed.
6. A variety of food choices. Greek food was nice, but it was frustrating knowing you had to eat it everyday. The grocery stores didn't carry things like foreign cheese (and foreign meaning American, Italian, French, etc.), Asian sauces, salsa, etc. Everything was Greek. Rarely, you'd find a goodie like mozzarella or tortilla chips but it was often too expensive to consider purchasing or not half as good as it is at home.
7. Local libraries. I'm incredibly thankful our school had a bookshelf of fiction, but the books we had definitely wouldn't have been my first choice. And with so much time for reading, I was desperate for good books. Gotta love the library.
8. Driving. Only sometimes. Like when it was raining but we had to walk 15 minutes and back to get our groceries.
9. Having my own room. My bed was in the living room/kitchen, so I had zero privacy. My roommates were great and were happy to let me use their room if I ever needed it, but it would have been nice to have my own room in an area closed off from the main living space (especially because our apartment was the biggest and thus, the most popular for visits from the other kids).
10. Alone time. On field trips especially, we were together all the time. Our group got along really well so this wasn't a huge problem, but I did start to crave moments where I could just be alone. And in Aigina, I could be alone sometimes but due to #9 on the list, it wasn't always easy.
11. TV. Very rarely, you'd find something good on TV in Aigina. The best things I watched there were episodes of Mad Men (though it was hard to understand what was going on because I haven't watched the show much before), House, 30 Rock (only very late at night), and the Office (only very late at night, and only once). Harry Potter was also on TV once, but it was the exact same Harry Potter movie (Order of the Phoenix) that we had in our school DVD library. We could watch TV on our laptops, but it's just not the same and we didn't have internet access in our apartments anyway.
12. Snow. Which we don't have in St. Louis yet either, but I've got my fingers crossed!