How is it Possible to Feel Nostalgia for a World I Never Knew?

Emily Xouris
April 21, 2015
The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

As my art class and I were sitting on the train and chugging along to The Hague, we could not help but bring up how little time we had left abroad. One friend mentioned how she felt more like herself here than at home and another said how she could not imagine how she ever felt nervous coming to a city which she now loves. I sat and contemplated how I felt as I spotted colorful tulip fields passing us by. When I think about going home in just a month I am not sad but I am also not excited. I will let you in on a secret that studying abroad is an emotional roller coaster, at least for me. There are times when all I want to do is see my family and lay on the floor with my dogs covered in fur. However, occasionally, I find myself in a wild panic when I even try to picture myself back at home. How could I possibly go back to someplace with so little to do and see? There is always something happening in Amsterdam compared to Kansas. But then again, I miss my friends and family, terribly, everyday.

We made our way through The Hague, hopping from museum to museum. We viewed the Mesdag Panorama, a three-hundred and sixty degree view of The Hague, and later visited a contemporary museum. After a few minutes wandering the halls and observing paintings and sculptures, we all sat down cross-legged on the floor, including our professor, to gain a better perspective of a piece of work. There is was again, my moment of panic and disbelief that I was going home in a month. I tried to observe the strokes of paint and the blue shading of the image but my mind was wandering elsewhere. I was terribly sad but, at the same time, incredibly content. I was so happy to just sit on the floor with my classmates, the people I had barely known the first days of orientation, and freely interact with my professor. I recalled how lucky I was to be in a place and time that truly made me happy. I remember I was too afraid to leave my room the first few days after I arrived in Amsterdam. How far I, and my classmates, had come since then.

This post will be a bit shorter than I would like it to be but I would like it to leave something to those perspective studying abroad students. I have realized that it is okay to not be ecstatic about studying abroad, occasionally. Some days I hate reading assigned articles all day in my room and wish I could just go home and hug my parents, dogs, cat, friends, etc. I want to sleep in my bed at home, go on walks in my neighborhood, and actually be able to use an oven. However, some days I wake up and could not imagine myself anywhere else besides Amsterdam. I feel so lucky to have chosen such an amazing city. I did not realize just how stunning the canals would be, how friendly those taking my coffee order could be, and how happy I could feel. Already, I am missing the city I have not even left yet and that I barely knew a few months ago. How is it possible to miss the people and places I did not know less than three months ago?

Emily Xouris

<p>Although I am a Kansas native, I can honestly say I have never witnessed a tornado, tended to the farm, or religiously watched The Wizard of Oz. I am a studious college student who enjoys going into the city and testing new ethnic restaurants or going to a symphony performance on the weekends. This explains why my phone primarily consists of photos of food porn and Kansas City architecture. I study international relations and Spanish, both of which offer me a different perspective to the world beyond the Midwest. I often find myself distracted walking to and from class because I hoard pinecones and insist on showing my friends the ones I come across.&nbsp;</p>

Home University:
William Jewell College
International Relations
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