Week 4: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

Emotional rainstorm right on time.

I’m gonna get the honest emotional check up out of the way first… cause then we get to the fun stories that happened in weeks 5&6 and that’s my favorite part to write.

As many of you know, this is my second time participating in a summer abroad program. And I’m noticing some trends…

The fourth week is weird, but the fifth week is weirder.

The fourth week is the middle of the program. Congrats, you’re half way through! You feel great. You realize you can actually make it to the end.

Then the fifth week happens and you realize just how much you still have left. You just boomerang back and forth between being excited to go home and being upset that you have to leave.

I have really great moments and some really sad moments. I miss my friends and my family and my home, but I’m also so glad to be here, and so proud of what I’ve accomplished. You feel adventurous and independent and like you can tackle anything in your path.

Then nostalgia decides to take the wheel.

I’ll be doing homework, or joking around with friends, and then boom I remember something from home and suddenly feel like the second half of the program is going to be the longest.

The fifth week is full of bursting emotions that have no real rhyme or reason.

I like to think of these moments as little raindrops hitting me in the head.

They’re frequent and annoying.

They’re sudden and distracting.

They’re also temporary and mainly harmless.

I’m writing all this because I remember after I came home from China I had a few readers ask me how authentic my blog posts were. They asked if I was trying to just write the happy moments and filter out the bad. They were applying to similar programs and wanted to know what to expect.

(Rest assured, the answer is no, I don’t filter, since I don’t really see the point in writing anything if it’s not the truth.)

So I’ll tell you this: these programs are worth more than any textbook or college lecture. It’s hard to describe the mental growth that you go through on these programs, all without actually realizing it. They test your boundaries and force you out of your comfort zone, but that’s where adventure starts. And the adventures are exhilarating and addicting.

Sometimes it hits me just how much people can change over the course of their life. If my younger self met my current self, I don’t think she’d recognize me. And maybe that’s okay. When I was younger I didn’t speak or have the confidence to really do anything. Now I’m signing myself up for programs across the world and forcing myself to only speak another language. But I don’t remember making that decision. It just feels right. I guess sometimes you just have to trust your gut and take the jump.

But, I’ll also tell you that there are moments in these programs when all you want to do is curl up in a ball and hope you magically transport home.

You just have to remember that the Week 5 Blues with little emotional rainstorms are just a part of growing. And to quote another iconic shirt that I bought here, “Growing up is better than growing down”. 没错。

No one prepared me for how weird the weather is here. Yeah, it’s hot. Yeah, it rains. But like there’s no warning. Daily forecasts always say the same thing: hot, humid, rainy. But that day could be bright and sunny, gray and still blistering hot, or rain all day and still manage to be overwhelmingly hot. But on top of that unpredictability, you also have to remember that the weather changes on a dime.

I left my class building the other day and it was bright and sunny, but when I crossed the building’s parking lot I felt a rain drop hit my head. Having acclimated to Taiwan’s weather patterns, I immediately stopped to pull my umbrella from my bag BUT BEFORE I EVEN HAD MY UMBRELLA OUT it was pouring. Actually pouring. Like raining harder than I’ve ever seen it rain in my entire life. So hard that cars had to pull over on the street. Umbrellas are so useless in these cases that you might as well not have one. I’ve decided to call rainstorms “free showers”. (It stopped raining in about 30 minutes.)

I know I’m stringing along this ‘rain’ thing, but I think there’s something to be said for letting things pass on their own.

If you accept all your emotions and deal with them as they come, then nothing can ever knock you off balance.

If you put up walls and ignore any bad thought or emotion, you’re just putting off the day you crack. Umbrellas are great until you’re stuck in a typhoon.

So yes, little emotional rain drops keep falling on my head.

(It doesn’t help that we were almost hit by a typhoon at the end of week 4, so actual rain drops were always hitting me in the head.)

*Stay tuned… fun stories are coming*

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