among other things, change

It has taken me a bit of time to gather my thoughts in order and figure out really what I wanted to write, which revolves around what has happened these last few days.

Just today, I had submitted a composition assignment for French class which directed: “Imagine that you are going to study in France for a year. Describe the feelings, hopes and fears that you have on the day before your departure.” I wrote the first paragraph very quickly and re-read it for edits, and that’s when I realised that I was not imagining, but instead retelling an experience—the prompt asked for something I had already gone though, but in a different location. Here. Where I am writing at the very moment, and I don’t think that I could have summed it up as succinctly as I had written it:

C’est arrivé finalement après longtemps—mon voyage en France pour cette année scolaire. J’ai attendu depuis quatre ans pour ce moment, et demain, je vais commencer à le réaliser. Mais bien que je sois très heureux, je dois confesser que j’ai autant de peur que d’enthousiasme, parce que je n’ai jamais vécu dans un pays qui semble aussi étranger et différent que la France. Quand j’ai appris que j’ai gagné cette opportunité d‎’y vivre et étudier, je n’ai rien senti que le contentement et le succès et pas du tout ce que je me sens maintenant. C’est drôle ça, je crois—c’est exactement au moment qu’on a ce qu’on voulait toujours, pendant toute sa vie, qu’on commence à se demander si c’était vraiment ça qu’on avait voulu et espéré. Alors, pour moi, je pense que je vais trouver si ce voyage deviendra le rêve que j’avais depuis ces dernières années, quand mon avion atterrira à Paris et je serai complètement seul dans une ville inconnue mais quand même prometteuse.

It’s finally here after such a long time—my trip to France for this school year. I’ve waited 4 years for this moment, and tomorrow, everything’s going to start to happen. But even though I’m very happy, I have to confess that I’m just as afraid as I am excited, because I’ve never lived in a country that seems as strange and different as France. When I had found out that I won this opportunity to live and study there, I felt nothing but happiness and success, and nothing like how I feel right now. I think that that’s funny, really—it’s exactly at the moment when we have something we’ve always wanted our whole lives when we start wondering if it was really the thing that we actually wanted and hoped for. So for me, I think that I’m going to find out if this trip will actually become the dream that I’ve had for a while when my plane lands in Paris and I’m completely alone in an unfamiliar, but nonetheless, promising city. 

As it is easily noticed, simply replace France with Rhode Island, and Paris with Providence, and I present to you what I have been trying to get myself to admit this entire week: that I’m still unsure about my own happiness here, because of the fact that I’m still trying to, in the simplest terms, confront what I fear. And everything that I fear has one crucial component that is mutual: they are all things that are unfamiliar, novel, uncomfortable, etc. I cannot handle so much change around me, and that has caused me to become more reserved and has driven me to, essentially, isolate myself from what has already changed.

I don’t understand how I’m able to remember this, but a good friend of mine from high school, a year older than me, came back to visit during alumni day the year after he graduated so that he could inspire us to continue onto higher education (he was the previous valedictorian and attends UCLA). During his speech, he said, and I directly quote: “You just have to embrace the change. All of you will understand what I mean if you find yourselves in my shoes this time next year. I found it hard the first few months starting college, but when I just convinced myself to go with the flow, I learned to cooperate with it, too.”

I never would have thought that his words would have related to me to the extent that they do now, but here is myself reflecting on the turbulence that has swept my life in such a short time span. I panicked, and my reaction was reservation and isolation because I couldn’t handle not just everything that became my life, but everything that was no longer it and in it as well. These few days have simply gotten me to come to terms with what has truly been affecting me. I just wish I hadn’t been so stubborn. Then again, I am my father’s son ||

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