Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
Hi everyone, I’m back in France – at home!
I hesitated about using the word “home” and wanted to add a question mark after it. I’ve been planning to write an article called “Home?” for a while about a feeling most students will recognise, the feeling that UEA is now home and that what we previously called home is… Well, what is it? It’s a feeling I could really relate to after a few months at UEA. At first, it was really awkward and I would always say “Oh yes I’m back hom— er, in my room, in Pine” when chatting with my friends for instance, and then we all ended up referring to our halls as home, our flatmates being some sort of second substitute family.
I’m not so sure about that anymore. Going home, in France, last year for Christmas, Easter and especially the summer was strange. As I mentioned in other articles, I really didn’t know what to expect about being home again after a few months of independence in England… Many students have felt homesick for UEA and each time, I worried a bit about not feeling like I belonged at home anymore. However, things would always go back to normal within a few days and it was like I’d never left.
This time, for the Christmas break, I feel like our flat in the South of France is more like home than ever.
I don’t know why, but when I was overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia the day after I came back. I looked at my room as I emptied my suitcase and it really hit me that this was home, this was the place where my life was, the desk where I did my homework when I was at school and college, the room me and my dad refurbished and that was to welcome my baby brother in 2002, the room where I played silly games, the bedroom where I fell from my bed and broke my collar bone, the place where I played my first notes on guitar, the place where so much happened. Our flat is full of memories and although I love Norwich and feel very good there, I love the familiarity of home.
But now it feels different. I always wondered what it felt like for adults to go back to their parents’ house and see their old house, their old bedroom, old toys… Now I know! I almost like I’m an alien in my room. It is the room of the teenager I was, this is the desk young Anne-Sophie worked at, the single bed eight-year old Anne-Sophie got and slept in…
I’M SO OLD! More seriously, I do think that studying abroad did me a lot of good and that I matured a lot – even though that means I don’t get to see my little brother every day anymore and miss him. Now, being home is much better and more special and, as hard as it is to recognise it, we need to move on and grow up.