Bye Barcelona, Hello New York

Chirlien Pang
January 15, 2017
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." – Winnie the Pooh It has been three weeks since I have come home from Europe, and about four weeks since my program ended, but it feels like a lifetime ago. I cannot believe that I will be leaving for my last semester of college in just two days. The semester coming to an end was definitely a bittersweet moment for me. I had felt that once I finally got the hang of my life abroad, it was time to go. While I was excited to have some good ole’ Chipotle and Shake Shack, I had braced myself for feeling some reverse culture shock, and to immensely miss my life abroad. How was I supposed to just drop back to my life from four months ago, when so much has happened in between? How was I going to explain how my semester had been when there were so many aspects to explain? I had traveled with my sister for a week after the program ended, which I think helped my reverse culture shock a little. It was nice to relax after finals, and to catch up with my sister. It was a weird feeling because while I had all my baggage with me, it still did not feel completely real that I was going back to the US. It felt like I was taking a small vacation, and then heading back to Barcelona again. When I thought about it for too long though, I remember uncontrollably tearing up, realizing that the program truly had ended. Since landing in the US, the reverse culture shock has not been as bad as I had anticipated. In all honesty, study abroad just feels like a dream. It’s a bizarre feeling to describe because while I had this amazing four month experience, everyone else’s life had continued on, as well. Life did not stop for them. It was also easy for me to fall back into the routine that I had when I was at home. I know the American culture, my neighborhood, and my family’s schedule, so those were all parts that were easy to bounce back into. In addition, with the holidays and the New Year happening, it was nice to have some activities to do, and plans to fill my days. I had also got to see some friends from home as well as some friends who went abroad. It was great to hang out with them and to hear all their stories from the past semester, especially since I did not do a great job of keeping in touch, and it was difficult with the time difference to talk all the time. Specifically with talking with friends that had or just went abroad, I found some comfort in talking to them because they were able to relate to me, and give some advice in what I was feeling. I also felt like they may have been more interested to hear about my abroad experience compared to people who had never gone abroad. To answer the questions that I had asked in the beginning, for me, the best way to go back to life in the US was to go into it completely and without hesitation. While it’s easy to be gloomy and constantly reminiscence about the past, it’s important to move forward, and continue to grow. It’s also important to be patient and open minded with oneself. While going back home was easier than expected, it was not all unicorns and butterflies. Besides the jet lag and getting sick (of course for me! :( ), there were times where I deeply longed to go back to my life in Barcelona, and felt a little disconnect between my family and friends, myself, and the American lifestyle. Even now as I am getting ready to go back to Rochester, I am still so nervous about what to expect, and how I will feel. I know I’ll have to adapt again back to school and life in Upstate New York (with maybe a few tears along the way). However, I realized that’s okay to feel, and unfortunately all part of the journey. Lastly, it can difficult to explain the abroad experience because it feels so far away and so large, but I think the key thing is to be honest and genuine about it all. I can’t believe that I am saying this, and actually typing it out makes it feel more real that this chapter is actually over. Nevertheless, this is my last post, so to my readers, thank you for listening to me and following me along on this ride. I hope you enjoyed my blog (and even maybe learned something from it) as much as I loved writing it. It was a crazy and unforgettable semester, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Bye for now! xx, Chirlien

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Chirlien Pang

<p>Hi! My name is Chirlien and I am a native New Yorker, going to school at the at the University of Rochester. While I am a science student, I also really enjoy writing, photography,and journalism. I am so excited to be studying abroad in Barcelona this fall. Come with me on this journey as I try to learn the ropes of Barcelona&#39;s unique culture and people-hopefully I don&#39;t get too lost!</p>

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