I can’t believe it’s all over. It’s been 2 months since I’ve returned to the United States, and I feel like my mindset is still in French mode. When I first returned home, all I could do was replay the final moments I had spent in Orléans- waking up on Provi’s air mattress well before sunrise and preparing to go to the train station with Cristina. The moments before that, saying goodbye to Mathieu, to Nadia, Suzanne, Alex, and the other foyer kids. The days before had been full of goodbyes- not just to people, but to my little studio flat, to the Saturday morning river market, to the Loire. When walking along the river banks about a week before I left, I came across two teachers who worked in schools where I taught. Both of them expressed interest in seeing me return to the schools to see the children before I left for the States, but since those last few days were so jam-packed with packing, saying goodbye to everyone else, and handling administrative work, it just wasn’t possible.
I feel like I’m in a constant state of confusion now. I have so many plans but no definite strategy of what I want to do with my life. And I’m still disoriented because I miss my friends, my students, and my coworkers in Orléans. I know I want to do a masters, so I’ve got a GRE date set for later this month. I know I want to work abroad, so I’m planning on taking the Foreign Service Exam in the fall. But these plans are so vague. I’m used to having a concrete idea of what I’m doing in any given 4-year period. After I finished middle school, I knew which high school I was going to. After high school, I knew what college I would be enrolling in. During college, I signed up right away for programs that would allow me to sharpen my language skills and job experience abroad. And now, even though I’m working towards improving myself and advancing my career, I just feel so lost. I’m not sure how to describe this feeling, but I’ve talked to other recent graduates like me and the feeling is shared. It’s just odd living in the abyss of the post-undergraduate studies world. (I refuse to use the term “real world.” It suggests that anyone who is studying in an accredited academic program or working abroad is living in an incubated playground. This is false.)
On another note, living at home is economical and practical at this point in my life, but slowly driving me insane. There is something about living independently for five years that makes being roommates with your middle-aged parents insupportable. It was pleasant for the first few weeks being with my family after not seeing them for so long, but I think that I need to live alone or with people my own age. ASAP.