You are here

"Better than Fine"

July 9, 2018

I had quite the picturesque afternoon last Thursday.

After some long hours in the office, I receive an email about something-or-other, which importantly mentions at the end how nice the weather is today and how it’s a shame to be cooped up in the office. Not having been outside all day, I hadn’t even thought to check. My window faces a narrow alley with little-to-no sunlight exposure. So, I took a break and walked over to the little outdoor campus coffee shop, grabbing a latte and some pear-raspberry bread. I laid down on the grass in the warm sunlight next to the old-school buildings, and just soaked it all in.

This is now my favorite memory I’ve made on this trip. It was quite simple to initiate, given it was the last few hours of my work week, required less than $10, and was all my own. Simply losing track of time a bit and getting the chance to reflect on my experience here made me think about what tools I’ve used to recover and learn. Part of that, is feeling home.

I feel as though I found what grounds me. Being away from home makes you question what home really is. I don’t really know what “Home is Where the Heart is” really means. But maybe what I found to be home is something similar. For me, home is: the advice that all my family members give, the giggling about silly things that I’ve done or that happened to me with my friends, the books that I read, the music that I listen to, the movies that I watch, and my favorite things to eat. This list sounds a bit materialistic, but that’s not quite what I mean. Home is an emotion, and these things connect me to what’s important. I don’t know if the emotion is specifically nostalgia, because it’s not always sad, but it’s something similar to it. It reminds me of my values—the aspects of my life that combine mysteriously to form who I am, and who I want to be.

I reached that feeling of home sitting out on the lawn with the light hustle-and-bustle around me. I felt centered, and able to achieve anything I wanted to halfway around the world. It was extremely refreshing, and I highly encourage anyone who finds themselves either too busy this summer or entirely bored, to venture out and treat themselves to a little snack  nearby, sitting outside (if it’s not terribly humid, hopefully in some shade) and reflecting a bit. It’s the reflecting that I’ve been doing when writing blogs and talking out what I’m going through with my friends and family that’s been getting me through going abroad. Reflecting is my weapon, my tool, and my solace. It’s when life isn’t jumping so far ahead that I can’t understand or see it. I have the time to catch back up, and process what I’ve experienced and how I’ve changed.

Listen to Fiona Apple’s “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” if you’d like to know a little better what I mean without feeling the urge to roll your eyes at my cheesy writing.

From Our Blogs

Sep 18 10:23am

Sliding Through History

by Paige

Over the past week, I had the oportunity to go on the World Heritage Tour. This field trip is put on by IES Abroad during the first week break. In this week we visted Hallstadt, Salzburg, Český Krumlov and Prague. There is so much to talk about and so many photos to share.

Learn more
Sep 18 9:01am

Intimacy, gender, and public space

by Maddy

Within my first hour of being in Morocco, I became attuned to the way that men dominate public space. Whether you’re walking through the medina or driving past the busy city center, women are conspicuously absent from sidewalks and doorways.

Learn more
Sep 18 8:15am

My First Week: in Reflection

by Connor

It always helps to process thoughts and ideas when you can take a second to reflect on what’s happened. Personally, taking some time to myself to process things helps keep things in order, and also gives me break from the busy day-to-day.

Learn more
Sep 17 1:50pm

Marching to the Beat of Social Justice: Thoughts on Global Citizenship from John Luke Hawkins

by IES Abroad

We chatted with John Luke Hawkins (IES Abroad Cape Town, Fall 2016 | Hope College) to hear more about how studying abroad spurred, what he described, as a “180 degree turn” in his life.

Learn more
Sep 16 11:42am

Time to Explore and Time to Return

by Joshua

After our first week of traveling with the European Union program, I am at a loss of where to begin in this blog.  It is quite difficult to reduce this full week of new sights, thoughts, and relationships into one blog post, but I will try my best.  

Learn more
Sep 16 6:23am

From Boot Camp to Bike Rides

by James

After a week of intensive Nantes orientation, we head to the idyllic île-Aux-Moines for a magical afternoon only Europe could provide!

Learn more