While travelling on the bus home from Arles a few Saturdays ago, I overheard a conversation between two British students sitting in the seats in front of me. I initially tuned in because I enjoyed hearing their accents, but ended up listening for a bit longer than is probably socially acceptable, engrossed in my eavesdropping by the topic of their discussion - unhappiness.
Studying abroad in Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I feel extremely lucky to be here, and I know that not many people ever have the chance to do something similar. I think most of us here recognize that in some way or another. Whether consciously or not, I feel a constant pressure not to waste a single minute, to make plans for every weekend, to take advantage of the relatively small amount of time I have here.
Sometimes, that pressure begins to weigh a bit heavy on my shoulders. I think that those students in front of me on the bus felt that way as well. They talked to each other about how they missed their families and how they feared their friends back home were having fun together, making memories without them.
Sometimes, for me at least, I don’t even necessarily need a reason. I just feel unhappy. I know I shouldn’t and I don’t really know why it happens, but all the same I certainly have days where I don’t feel like leaving my room, despite the fact that I’m living in one of the most beautiful places I could imagine.
I’m writing this journal, more than anything, for myself. Sometimes, I need a reminder that’s it’s okay to be unhappy every once in a while, In fact, it’s one of the most human emotions that exists. Although my expectations of living in France more or less ignored some of the more quotidien realities, “c’est pas grave” - it’s not a serious issue. Slowly, I’m learning to accept the fact that I’ll have some down days, but there’s really no reason to dwell on them. After all, I’ve got the world to see.
Enjoy these photos from Arles. I’ve got a little bit more to write yet.