Moving On

Paikea Houston headshot
Paikea Houston
May 9, 2024

Bonjour, mes cheris!


Welcome to my blog! If you aren’t already familiar with me, my name is Paikea and I am currently no longer in Paris!


Le sujet du jour is moving on, and somehow trying to adjust out of what became your normal for five months.


Avant tout, I want to clarify that everyone’s experiences are going to look and feel different depending on your personal circumstances. Depending on where you live, where you traveled, and where you are actually going next.


D’abord, I want to clarify that I have not gone back to the United States. I have actually decided to continue my travels across Europe (which has actually been the plan all along). It is something I greatly recommend to anyone who wants to do it and can do it. Of course, things may get more complicated in the future as it stands the Visa situation is not likely to remain the same and even U.S. citizens are going to need visas for tourist travel in Europe. By the time I have finished writing this segment (my last), I will have been to Geneva, Turin, and Genoa. Florence is next, as are several other cities and countries. However, despite not having returned “home”ーstill not having seen my family yetーI have been experiencing a culture readjustment. I got so used to Paris that immediately upon leaving and experiencing Geneva I felt put off. It felt like no city could compare, that even though they spoke French they were somehow not what I wanted or expected when traveling. Then Italy was an even bigger shock. Now the people around me didn’t even speak French. I was shocked, and honestly disheartened. I found myself doing what I promised myself not to do, which was look down on another culture. Now that I know the signs, I can catch them, but it was startling to realize that I was starting to act truly “Paris Snobby”. Well, now I am trying to force myself out of the habit but every time I go into a museum and there are what seems like 100 screaming and wild children running around museums I pay 30 euro to see I have to convince myself that this is acceptable and that I have to adapt. Eventually, I manage it and finally seclude myself from wave after wave of field trips (seriously I have not been on one excursion that is not completely dominated by elementary field trips). Regardless, the point is that you become aware of what thoughts you might have, which helps you catch them when they do come to you. Once you can recognize them you can begin to talk yourself out of them and start swaying your conscience to adapt quicker to resettling into a new lifestyle. Your home country might feel weird to you. It might not even feel like home, but you are capable of settling back in. Things are going to go back to what they once were, except with a bit of a different feel, and that’s okayYou are going to be okay. No matter where you go next, you will be fine. Take deep breaths, remember to sleep well, hydrate, and eat, Fall back in love with your home culture, and of course don’t forget the culture you left behind. Learn how to make croissants and try to replicate the taste you remember. Buy gelato instead of ice cream. Whatever it is, there is a way of fitting the new culture into the old. 


Deuxièmementyou aren’t alone. You might feel like the people around you, the friends you left behind and came back to, your family, etc. might not understand what you went through and what you miss. For them, nothing but your absence changed. But you always have the friends you made abroad, other students who studied abroad, and the vast collection of blogs on this site to help you. Keep the culture you experienced abroad alive in yourself and you won’t ever be alone. You will have those memories with you. 


Troisièmement, don’t be afraid to share your story! You may feel a little chatty, and extra talkative about what you saw, felt, and heard but that is totally okay. All there is to it to make sure your listeners don’t get exhausted is to make sure that when you talk about the other culture, you aren’t putting your own down! You may have grown accustomed to this new culture, but there was the one that raised you that was waiting for you to return. They are different, one may feel more magical than the other, but they are not competing. Most importantly, they can coexist! The best way to keep that experience alive and with you is to integrate parts of the culture with your home culture. A nice drink before dinner, a sweet treat at 4, a late dinner, terrace dining when it is practically freezing out—whatever helps!


Enfin, adjusting is not easy. Relearning something you should know can be incredibly difficult, like riding a bike when the bike is too small. You technically have outgrown this culture, but you can get back on track by being patient with yourself and taking it easy. Fall back into old patterns, enjoy your memories, and make the changes you think you have to make! Don’t feel like you have to forget and abandon the culture you adopted. I believe in you; thank you for sticking with me and I hope all my blogs helped you with your journey! <3


À la prochaine!

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Paikea Houston headshot

Paikea Houston

I am a person who loves her family, good food, and sunshine. I always believe in trying things at least once for failure is never certain. I'm here to take you along with me to travel further, work harder, and dive headlong into the great wide world!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
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