Well, I'm back in France and have been since Sunday. Normally I would be thrilled to be back, but this time I am not. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it, and I've been busy trying to figure it out. I absolutely did not want to get on that plane on Saturday and I would have done almost anything to stay. Unfortunately I had to get back to reality, to work, and to my miserable apartment.
For the first time ever I was truly devastated to be leaving the US and after all this time abroad, I think I am finally experiencing homesickness. It's a weird feeling for me. I've always prided myself on my ability to adapt to change with little to no difficulty, but this time it is hard. And it isn't even true change because I've been living in France for a while now. I think it just finally hit me. I had been home in over a year and I finally went back and saw my family and friends after such a long absence and I just really started to realize what I am leaving behind. Plus, before I always knew that I would be going home in the summer, and now I don't know when my next visit will be. I'm hoping for August, but I can't be sure that it will work out.
Before I left for the States everyone kept telling me that it would be good for me and it was exactly what I needed for the holidays. But now I'm starting to wonder if that was true. I don't think it was good for me; it just left me more hurt and depressed than anything else. And I don't know if it was what I needed; it has only created more questions without answers. This whole trip has left me feeling sad and uncertain.
I am starting to wonder if Lionel and I should stay in France or if we would be better off in the United States with higher salaries and more luxury. But perhaps I am just looking at this through rose-tinted glasses. I am fresh off a great visit to the US where I was on vacation and not working. Perhaps I have forgotten those realities of life in the United States that originally made me happy to leave. Maybe I need a reminder so I can feel more comfortable with my life here and more certain that staying is what is best. But for now, the question is in my head: do I want us to go to the US and give life there a try? For the first time ever Lionel actually said (in complete seriousness) that if I want to go back, we can go. Is that what I want? I think I have a lot of thinking to do. Or perhaps I just need to return to my routine in France and things will be better.
The strangest thing is, I don't know if I should be feeling this way either. I felt very awkward in the US. I felt comfortable with my family and friends, but with everything else it was strange. I easily fell back into the habit of driving everywhere (let's face it, I don't really love the metro), but there were other things that just felt so strange and made me feel like an outsider even in my home. I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world to hear people around me in stores and restaurants speaking English. Every time I heard it I was confused and shocked. It just seemed strange. And I could not get used to tipping and showing ID. It just didn't feel natural and I had completely forgotten it was necessary. It also felt foreign to be surrounded by so many chubby, poorly-dressed people. Not that I am the skinniest person in the world and not that I dress well, but even I felt small when I was back in the States. And I felt like I was dressed in designer clothing compared to the people around me. It was strange. I also noticed that my English has been suffering from living in France. I noticed myself saying things and as soon as they came out of my mouth I knew it wasn't right (either it didn't sound right or I could tell from the looks on people's faces). It was difficult and it concerns me. I think it is a mix of all the French around me and of having to teach British English most of the time, rather than American English.
So what do you do when you no longer feel completely at home when you are home? When you don't feel at home anywhere that you live or have lived? How do you decide which place is best for you and where you will be happiest? Or do you just put all the thoughts aside and live life as it is and not worry about the future?
This trip has confused me more than ever. When once I thought I was certain I knew what I wanted, I am now unsure of what to do. But I guess for now I have no choice but to stay in France and continue the path I am on now. I can only try to make the best of it by looking for a new job, finding that bigger and better apartment and by seeing what 2010 has to offer.