A broke girl with a bucket list

42: Transition

42: Transition

It never ceases to amaze me how one can go from radiating positive energy and being able to socialise one week to leading a sort of half life the very next. This week, my body completely shut down. Maybe it was from two weeks away, maybe the thought of having to leave close mates behind as I returned to my studies in France for five weeks, whatever it was, this week I seemed to exist for the sole purpose of walking myself to and from class and binge watching The Office. (US not UK guys at least it was that much)

You know those days where you sit down for a second on your couch under a doona and suddenly you look up and its 5pm? I had a week of those. Don’t get me wrong, I made (in hindsight ambitious) to do lists, I cooked some great food and I attended all my classes, but in retrospect I wonder if these were the only things that I could manage to prove to everyone else that I wasn’t totally dead inside. It’s like my brain was covered in bubble wrap, or surrounded by static. This week was, in a word, numb.

Honestly, sometimes I really dread having to keep up with these weekly posts. Not only do I completely doubt my capacity to inspire anyone at all by doing so (particularly as I spend a ridiculous amount of time comparing what I feel is my own very average life to everyone else’s), but also having to draw out a boring week to make it interesting – or at the very least readable – is more like a chore than a hobby. That’s why I’ve put off even thinking about this post until 6pm on a Sunday night. Having finally had enough of sitting on my ass all weekend under my blankets, and deciding that outside can’t be colder than my unheated apartment right now (it was actually warmer), I threw on my coat and headed out into the miserable weather.

I won’t lie, my first priority was snacks. The vague hope that somewhere, some store would be open at 5pm on a Sunday in France propelled me out the door and into the rain. But as I walked around the streets, for the first time in at least a week to any other place but my route to and from school, things began to clarify. Turns out if you lock yourself in your apartment for an entire week, it usually only takes some fresh air and a change of scenery to clear your head. This entire week I’ve been feeling trapped between two phases of my life. The part I’ve left behind is exchange: my friends from semester one, a summer spent in the Swiss alps and my last holiday before I head back to Australia had now all ended. The future: heading back to Sydney, the prospect of finding a job and a house and then getting down to saving money for when I graduate next December.

Which leaves me here: the last four weeks of semester. Broke, with exams looming just three weeks away and stuck in my cold apartment most weekends or between classes (we refuse to turn on the heating on the chance that we cop another gigantic bill) I can neither go back, nor move forward until these last few weeks are lived out. Sound depressing? I definitely made it seem so for myself. What’s more, friends and family advised me to make the most of my last few weeks of exchange. You’re only 21! You’re in France! You don’t know when you’ll be back! Live it up!

Eager to move forward and sad about what I’ve left behind, I trapped myself pretty easily into a low. Now, sitting and looking back on my week, I can pick the four moments that brought me out of it. The first was booking a final trip to the UK (and Prague) in my last two weeks before I fly home. The idea of seeing my mates one last time, and spending a little bit of Christmas with them instead of hanging around Reims with nothing to do after I finish classes is definitely keeping me motivated to get through my mountains of work. Secondly, hanging out with Grace and Alice this week has been a blessing. From coffee at OMA to a pizza/brownie/movie night extravaganza, just spending time with the two of you has lifted my mood so much. Third, I finally got around to skyping both my parents. It was nice to hear news from home, which got me excited about going back, but also to get a little bit of family support and guidance when I wasn’t feeling the best.

My evening walk proved to be the final piece to the puzzle. I was able to take some time to reflect on my week, and savour where I am right now, rather than worrying about who or what I’ve left behind, or what needs to get done in a future that I have no control over yet. So, yes this week hasn’t been the greatest. I know I’m the most under qualified person to give any advice ever, but sometimes all it takes is putting on your winter boots and heading out into the rain. Of course, nothing says making the most of where you are right now than finding (rather miraculously) a boulangerie still open at 5pm on a Sunday and treating yourself to a french pastry on your way back home.

Bisous xx