For the first time in several years, I’m actually sad to be done with Christmas Break.
Most people who know me know that I harbor few fond feelings toward my hometown. Of the 122 weeks that have come and gone since NSO, I’ve been back home for a total of six (four of them at Christmas). I cast massive side-eye upon my friends who talk about wanting to move back someday. Whenever someone at Georgetown comments on how far away DC must be for someone from Oregon, I just kind of shrug and think to myself that the distance isn’t exactly a bad thing.
So of course, going back to Georgetown over the last two years has never been particularly painful. I love my family and want to spend time with them, but my thoughts on the long flight east are typically less “back to the gulag” and more “finally I’m gone.” I’m usually not particularly excited to start classes again, but I’m not sad to be back on the Hilltop.
But as I write this on the train back to Lyon after almost two weeks in Paris and London with my sister, and I find myself truly sad to be done with break. It’s not just the prospect of taking two finals on Wednesday (though that’s not exactly a pleasant thought either), but the fact that for once, I really enjoyed the break. I got to spend time with my favorite person in the world, and I explored two new cities. That’s far better than the usual routine, which involves seeing a handful of friends and then sitting around being bored for the rest of the vacation.
That’s coupled with the knowledge that I’m not going to see my family for at least another six or seven months. As it is, I haven’t seen my mother since last spring and my father since last summer. For my sister and me, it’s a normal amount of time—I usually plan to visit in December and August—but it still feels like an eternity after two weeks of hanging out with her pretty much nonstop. My host family is wonderful, but it’s not the same as being with my real family
But life, as they say, goes on. Before I know it, I’ll be running headlong into next semester. I have five more months in Lyon, and they’re going to fly by. All too soon I’ll be back at Georgetown, and yes, eventually I’ll even be back in my hometown
So, as my train passes through the Lyon suburbs, I’ll just say this: break is over, but it’s a new year. While I don’t believe that January 1 is some magical moment when everyone suddenly becomes capable of achieving their wildest dreams, it’s a useful breaking point. Next week I’ll meet the six new Georgetown students who are joining me and the one other full-year student for the spring. I’ll have new classes, time for more trips, and five more months of exploring this place I’m currently calling home.
In short: life goes on, and as always, I’m going with it.
This piece is cross-posted on the Georgetown Study Abroad Blog, where you can read about the experiences of Georgetown students studying across the globe.