To Build a Home: Week 2 Update from Across the Pond

This last week has been a mix of several things, some good and others not.

To begin with, it’s been exciting. I survived my first week of courses as a postgraduate student. I stumbled upon a magical place called the “Postgraduate and Faculty Common Room,” which made me feel a lot like a little kid getting to see the teacher’s lounge for the first time. I managed to find my way to Colchester town centre where I located the Post Office, a helmet to wear while riding my bike, and several little shops I can’t wait to explore again. I also got my nose pierced, which I suppose falls into the category of exciting (at least for me it does).

This week has been a bit scary. I found myself in classes with people that know so much more than me. I’ve worked hard to gain a foundational understanding of the field of Linguistics, but the fact still remains that I am new to this specific field of study. I accidentally missed my bus stop on the way to town, so I had to awkwardly get off at the end of the line when the bus driver looked at me like I was insane. Oh, and I also discovered that this campus is essentially a modern Hogwarts, but in a terrifying corridors and winding staircases that lead to certain death kind of way.

This week has been lonely. I’ve had the chance to talk with a few of my flatmates and fellow students in my department, but we’re still in that place where everything is new. And though I am grateful for my friends and family that I talk to on a daily basis, at the end of the day I’m still in my room by myself. I told one of my friends the other day that, as strange as this sounds, I miss physical touch. I miss hugging my mom and brother and friends. I miss my friend Fallon’s three-year-old son running up to me, jumping into my arms, and asking me to play with him. I miss collapsing on my bed and having my dog come and snuggle with me at the end of a long day.

But this week has also been a blessing. The good things have given me a greater thirst for learning and living well. The hard and stressful things have been balanced out by little victories. And today is a Monday, the start of a new week. The class that felt overwhelming and foreign last week was challenging but comprehensible this week. I didn’t feel so out of place in the Postgrad and Faculty Common Room today as I sat at a table with two new friends. I managed to make a meal that was not only edible and healthy but delicious. And instead of running back to my room after cooking said dinner, I stayed to talk with two of my flat mates and really enjoyed the conversation.

I know that it is going to take time to adjust here. I know that there are going to be moments when I miss home and the people that are still there. I know that I am going to have to work my tail off to do well in this program. But I also know that, slowly, this place can become home as well. I just have to keep building.

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