Ups and Downs of Paris

Caitlin Hartley
June 6, 2013

I thought I would start this post off with a picture. A beautiful, typical picture of someone who is studying abroad in Paris for the summer. New friends, the Eiffel Tower and big smiles. That is how I felt when I first got here, as you could tell from my previous post. I was absolutely elated. There’s the Eiffel Tower! I can walk across the street to this cute little bakery and buy pastries! I’m in PARIS! I was full of joy that the trip of my dreams had come true, but after that first day…it all went down hill. I was overcome with this feeling of loneliness and everything just felt so foreign to me.

I dont know what happened, but I think a lot of it had to do with culture shock. Like all of a sudden, I’m in this new city with not a single person I know, and I’m just completely on my own. It was hard. It still is hard. I cried a lot. I don’t want to sound like a big baby, but when I’m alone I get depressed because I just think about missing people and not being able to talk to anyone familiar because I’m so far away. I cried multiples times. During the day, when I have things to do…I keep myself busy, and don’t really think about the all the foreignness and solidarity. However, when I get back to my host mom’s house after school or coming back from the Louvre…that’s when it hits me again. And what makes it worse…is then I feel guilty. I feel guilty for being sad and depressed. I mean I’m in Paris for pete’s sake! I’ve waited my whole life to be here, and now I’m here…I’m crying myself to sleep? That just makes me feel worse. I feel like I should be happy! I feel like…I’ve failed. Like…I took this trip to become more grown-up, to mature…and here I am holding my stuffed tiger tight as can be with tears streaming down my face.

Now…don’t get be wrong. When I am out during the day, seeing the Louvre, eating crepes and seeing the the magic of the city, I love it. I forgot my sadness and remember why I took this trip in the first place. And it’s almost been a week since I left home…and I think my depression and shock is starting to go away. I think a wave of acceptance is washing over me. I’m no longer at the bottom of this pit. I’m actually on a steady climb back up, and it feels good. I’m accepting that even though it seems as if everyone in Paris is trying to rob you, that doesn’t mean the beauty of the city is lost. I’m learning that even though everything is more expensive here, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself. And even though my host mom and my living situation is not what I expected, that doesn’t mean I can’t make the best of what I have and try to learn from her as much as I can. I still get sad from time to time…especially when I’m alone at night, lying in bed, thinking about my parents or Danny or my sisters or my friends, but I’m starting to feel better, and I think that feeling will only keep growing from here on out.

All my family and friends have been so supportive of me, and I think that is what has helped me the most, while I was down in the dumps. Even though I can’t simply pick up the phone and call them up…I can open my computer and skype them (if they’re awake when I am). And when I do talk to them or Facebook message them, every single one of them is there cheering me up, pulling me out of my slump, and that’s why I love them all so much. I apologize for this post being so depressing. I have a lot happy to stories to write about! I just needed to get this off my chest. I’m going to write about my other adventures later.

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Caitlin Hartley

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Caitlin, and I&#39;m 20 years old, but I will turn 21 this June (when I&#39;ll be in Paris)! I&#39;m super stoked about my trip this summer. I&#39;m a journalism major at the University of Florida and I&#39;m attaining my minor in French Language. I am hoping this trip will really advance my growth in the speaking aspect of the language. I love love love sports. I grew up going to football games with my family. Go Gators! This will be my first trip out of the U.S., but I&#39;ve never been so excited for something in my entire life. I love writing and eating, and I know this will be a great opportunity for me. I hope you will enjoy my blog!</span></div>

2013 Summer 1, 2013 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Florida
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