Going on your year abroad is a very emotionally testing experience. You can breeze right through every single feeling on the emotional spectrum in days, maybe even hours!
Add this to living in a foreign country without anyone familiar to you, having to speak a foreign language and deal with the frustrations of not understanding or not being understood. This combination of situations leaves you very, very tired and very, very sensitive to your emotions.
Two weeks ago, my flatmates parents came to visit for the afternoon. They are lovely, lovely people, very considerate, understanding and involve me in their family activities, which I really appreciate. The only thing is, being native Andalucians, they have very strong accents and speak very quickly. I have to work very hard to understand them, which makes my brain very tired.
At this point in my stay I had been working, living and playing in the Spanish language for two weeks straight, almost 24/7, despite the odd bit of English respite I got spending time with my friends from England. And thus far, I hadn’t expressed my frustration about the difficulty communicating.
The day my flatmate’s parents came I was tired anyway, physically, after a late night out. We went to the supermarket, ate lunch together and generally spent time together, and it was really nice, but I was having a really tough time speaking in Spanish, even from the moment I woke up. This frustrated me to no end – that I couldn’t say what I wanted to say was so upsetting, annoying and made me angry at myself. I felt shameful that I couldn’t talk to Cristina’s parents the way I wanted to, and really felt down about my Spanish speaking ability.
After we returned from the supermarket, I went to my bedroom. I felt awfully rude, but I needed to be alone. I cried. A lot. I let out all the frustrations of the first two weeks of my stay, and generally cleansed myself. Crying is very cathartic! I felt much lighter afterwards, and also after explaining to Cristina why I was upset, and then enjoyed a nice dinner and night out with friends. A bottle of wine to myself also helped me loosen up a bit. 😉
For those of you experiencing the same thing, and for those of you who will eventually go on a year abroad, I want to tell you this: what happened to me is completely normal. It happens to everyone! Moving away from home, especially to another country, is a crazily emotionally tolling experience, as amazing as it may be, and we all need to let those frustrations and annoyances out at some point.
To quote Elsa, “Let it go!”, and look what she achieved after finally ‘letting go’! She built an entire friggin’ castle out of ice!!
I hope you’re all doing well, wherever you may be! I will be posting soon about my trip to the beach in Portugal, and also about public transport in Seville.
To compensate for the text heavy post, I give you a pretty picture of my university campus!
Until next time!