Studying abroad has been the most insightful experience for me. I have learned so much about myself and about other people in such a short amount of time. For one, I now fully understand that I am a generally curious person, but taking action in order to get answers is one of my least favorite things. When uncomfortable, I take initiative only when it is absolutely necessary. As awful as it sounds, it happens with everything I want to do. At the beginning of the semester I was planning on taking pictures of the outsides of all the churches in Vladimir. There are 20-some churches all slightly different, and although this was a goal of mine, I did not follow through, because I did not want to do it by myself and rarely wanted to go out and take pictures. My justification was even worse: “No one is going to want to look at the outside of these churches anyways because the pictures are not going to have people in them…” But what about for me? Why didn’t I take those pictures for myself? Lack of initiative.
Another thing I learned, I listen more than I speak. I already knew this to be true before studying abroad, but now I fully understand why it is. Honestly, I have the hardest time hearing people, especially when they are speaking a foreign language. Listening is the more important than giving a quick answer. My time in Russia has been well spent, in that I have increase my ability to understand what is being said to me. My reaction time in answering, however, has a long way to go. That takes time, and four months is definitely not enough. Additionally, I rarely answer quickly in English, because if I do I have a tendency to end up with my foot in my mouth. Another reason I listen more is because sometimes the situation calls for listening rather than talking. People need someone in their life to listen and I am totally fine with being that person. And finally, I don’t talk because I’ll probably complain. Seriously, if given the chance I complain more than I talk about useful information. I still haven’t figure out why that is… Oh yeah, I also can’t keep conversations going for the life of me. I always feel really bad, but I am slow under pressure and rely heavily on the other person to keep the conversation going. I have great ideas, they’re just hiding and don’t usually find their way to my mouth until the conversation is over and two days have passed.
Being in Russia has solidified how dumb I act in public. I can and will dance when I feel like it, even if there isn’t any music playing (because there’s always music in my head). Hand, arm, head, and any other body motions that can be made to express emotions, I’ll use them. In Russia I get stared at anyways, and I realized that the same thing happens back in the states. So I’m different, and I’m ready to fully embrace it. Be ready! 🙂
Topic change…and go!
When I first heard the song “High School” by Superchick I was in middle school and had yet to experience the ups and downs of it. Who knew that I would be able to experience those ups and downs all over again while studying abroad…
Oh how wise Superchick is, high school really does continue forever and ever. There will always be that one competitive person, someone one step ahead of you, someone always talking about someone else, someone always out of control, etc. Forgetting their wisdom as I travelled abroad, I reverted right back into a high school state of living. The pettiest of things have made me mad and I have complained about everything, including people. Why? Because I could and it was easy. I took my college environment for granted. I hang around with like-minded individuals all of the time and avoid those I will argue with, just like everyone else in this world. The only problem I realized on our train ride back from Sochi, is college is the only time that it is possible to actually avoid those you don’t like. Think about it. I don’t have the same classes or practice every day. I choose to see who I want every day of the week. After graduation the workforce is going to become high school all over again. Every day I will work with the same people, many of whom will not share the same ideas or insights into life. And what am I going to do? How will I survive? Complaining will not get me through it, and neither will isolating myself. I’ve done both and neither work out in the end. I need someone to confide in and to give me strength. And I know who that person is. Have I given them the time of day lately? Definitely not. It’s been a really long time and I know that it’s wearing on me. So where do I go from here? No idea, one day at a time.