One month and three days ago, I was living in Brussels. It still feels like a dream that didn’t quite happen, and yet this life I’m currently leading also feels bizarrely temporary.
Life back in the states: I’ve picked up right where I left off, miraculously. I’m the new editor in chief of my college newspaper, The California Aggie, and I’ve been interning at the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food & Wine department for the past two weeks. These were two dreams I dreamt up pre-Belgium, that I didn’t quite think would ever happen. And here we are. Somehow, they happened.
Most things are the same. In Davis, I still do work at the Delta of Venus, the cool cafe cool people like to slyly name drop in writings such as this one. I order the same large coffee and breakfast of scrambled eggs, sundried tomatoes, sweet peppers, cheese and pesto, with organic walnut toast. The same students wander in and out and have the same conversations. Didn’t she graduate?, I think over and over again. Obviously graduation doesn’t mean moving on. Nothing guarantees moving on.
Will I move on?
Or is it exactly as everyone else is telling me — I’m moving too darn fast to notice.
The readjustment is still happening at a snail’s pace — that, I am noticing. Social situations still feel unnatural, a challenge I know I must accept, and I do accept, but that I just can’t conquer just yet. I feel silences in full force. I feel myself having nothing substantial to add to any conversation, because if I bring up Europe again, eyes will surely glaze over. I purposefully try to see friends who can talk about themselves for hours so the pressure is loosened. I secretly text my old friends from Brussels under the table, as we continue our extravagant game of pretend, where we live a short bus ride away as opposed to a long flight.
But! I am done complaining.
San Francisco is still one of the most fabulous cities in the world and I have already enjoyed exploring it more than I ever have before. Commuting in every morning using public transit, getting off at “the world-famous Powell Street” (as the conductor says nearly every morning), and dodging all sorts of commotion before getting into the Chronicle’s office each morning is an enviable time in itself. I’m determined to force myself to stay in the city after work more often, despite how cozy my bed and a couple episodes of Battlestar Gallactica sound. On the days I’ve successfully forced this situation, I’ve experienced beautiful, big-city, exciting things — a futurist lecture series on our robot overlords and a free Comedy Central taping with Kristen Schaal, for example.
A couchsurfer I met up with in the city, from the East Coast but who had lived in Spain for a couple of years, told me he had the worst reverse culture shock coming back to the states. But he knew there was one place in the country where he could still be happy. San Francisco. The most European city in America.
And of course, I am endlessly appreciative of every opportunity I had this past year. And I am endlessly appreciative of my family and friends for supporting me the whole way through, and welcoming me back despite my awkward demeanor. There is really no reason to complain.
So this is it. The end of the blog. Until my next big adventure, that is. And that will happen. Promise.