So, here we are again. I’m sitting where I have probably spent the most time this week: in my little, light-filled flat in Reims, surrounded by to do lists and half planned travel itineraries. When I’m not here, you’ll usually find me on campus (a hefty four minute walk away) learning about anything from the political history of France to the birth of African Cinema.
Trying to summarise this week has been, in a word, difficult. On one hand, I have been extraordinarily happy to begin classes again. Don’t get me wrong, a summer spent outside was exactly what I needed, but at the end of three months I’m pretty ready to use my brain again. The reason I chose Sciences Po was for how interesting (and sometimes oddly specific) their courses sounded, and now that I’ve got the hang of course registration, my timetable is looking pretty awesome.
So this semester I’m juggling not one but two courses taught by my favourite prof from last semester (who immediately reminded me of the ONE time he caught me talking in his class), French level B2 (who knows how I actually passed B1.2), a course on the birth of cinema in Africa and something to do with EU Public Diplomacy. Oh, and don’t forget everyone’s favourite, Histoire Politique de la France. We’re pretty sure the prof is a nice guy, but it’s hard to tell when the entire course content is delivered in French. Let’s just say its going to be fun to navigate.
Outside of classes, you’ll probably find me with Alice. From ‘study’ catchups that just turn into eating cake to a pre drink for Bodega complete with an 80s soundtrack, its been pretty cool to finally have another Aussie around. Who else will go in search of Tim Tams at Monoprix with me (spoiler alert: we found them!) or not judge me for making vegemite sandwiches my lunch of choice on a hike?
Here’s the thing. I write a blog because I like keeping people up to date on my life, but its incredibly difficult to write about life as a whole when you only talk about the good stuff. Admittedly, I’m guilty of doing just that most of the time, as I prefer to focus on the positives. But every once in a while, its nice to be able to put things in perspective. With that, here’s the flip side of this week.
I always knew after the summer that I’d had, especially living and working with people in such close proximity, that this semester would have a pretty substantial adjustment period. Going back to having my own room has been a blessing and a curse. Granted, I don’t have to listen to Hannah’s sleep talking at 3am anymore, but I’ve also spent this week with a pervasive feeling of isolation. Don’t get me wrong, I’d never wish to be anywhere else in the world than I am right now, but dealing with meeting and making friends with an entirely new group of people for the third time in nine moths is taking its toll.
After a week spent trying to organise my life down to the minute to quell the anxiety bubbling in my stomach most evenings, I can safely say that settling in isn’t something you can rush. Despite having spent all week in classes, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to give myself the time I need to adjust, and not to freak out when I’m not feeling like a 9/10 all of the time. Right now, for me its about setting up a routine that I’m comfortable in. I’ve traded my Netflix login for Léa’s gym membership, Skyped my parents and had extensive life chats with my sister. I go on walks lots – mostly to get out in the fresh air but also to appreciate just how beautiful the city I live in is.
At the end of the day, chasing down happiness isn’t going to get you anywhere. This week, I’m trying to find and create moments of contentment in my day. It could be anything from making a banging brekkie at 2pm on a Sunday to doing a soul-fulfilling (is that even a thing?) hike through the Champagne region with a mate. Here’s to settling in.