Why It’s Okay To Have The Mid-Stay Blues
This time of my exchange year had come: I had been abroad for five months and I had still five months to go. I felt confused. On one hand, five months is a long time. But on the other hand, time has flown by so fast. Astrid, a French exchange student, wrote on her blog: “I moved from ‘how long I have been here?’ to ‘how much time do I have left?’. I don’t know whether it is reassuring or scary.” I identify myself with this so much.
Now that you know what I meant when I say ‘Mid-stay blues,’ I’m going to tell you how it hit me off guard.
One week, I realized that I was in this mid-stay period and I thought I was totally fine. The moment was more about mid-stay feelings than mid-stay blues. However, this happened:
One night, I came back from a basketball game. I was upset because my coach couldn’t come so we had a replacement coach who made me play for only three minutes during the match. Not a big deal, eh? If it had been any other day, it would not have bothered me and I would not have made a big deal about it.
On this day, though, this little thing became a huge deal in my mind. I couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t help thinking negatively. This sudden and strange reaction was so weird to me because it never happens usually. I told myself “sleep on it”. I went to bed, still crying. I woke up with googly eyes and I still felt bad.
I tried to play music to feel better, which usually works, but it didn’t. So, I came to a point where I told myself: “What’s wrong with you Ondine? This isn’t normal, so you need to find out why!” I asked myself a lot of questions like, “How do I feel inside?” and “Am I homesick?” After a day of reflection, I came to this conclusion:
“Maybe I am homesick. Just because I tell people I’m not homesick, doesn’t mean that I’m not. It’s just an easy answer. Also, I probably tell people I’m not homesick because I think that admitting it would mean that I’m a weak person. Though, I feel weak inside now, and even more so because of this unexpected reaction.
“I let homesickness grow inside me, without noticing it. I think that the homesickness has grown through social medias: most of all, Facebook. I check it too often. Even if I don’t reply, I still read the group conversation I have with friends back home. I know what they are doing without me. This isn’t the only reason for the homesickness, but that’s one of the biggest.
“Another one would be that I don’t have my family here, so at this moment, I miss them (I’m not with a host family so it doesn’t balance, I’m at my great-aunt’s but we’re not close at all). All of this has built up in me and has hit me when I was more vulnerable. Which is actually a lot these days with all of the mixed feelings of the mid-stay period. The basketball game thing was just a little negative stuff that made it blow up. Now I need to focus on myself for a while and listen to myself.”
Then, I played music and I felt way better.
After I took this look at myself, I explained to my French friends how I was feeling and that my solution was to remove Facebook and Messenger from my phone for a while. They totally accepted it and told me they will always greet me with open arms.
As Facebook is the only way for some of the people I know to contact me, I went on Facebook from time to time using my computer. I did it for a month and a half, and since then, I check it more often, but I still don’t have the apps back on my phone. Also, I’ve tried to chat more with my Italian friends during my spare time and to be more honest about how I feel.
The mid-stay period had dredged up hidden feelings and made me have this little sad episode, which is why I call it mid-stay blues. Other exchange students don’t feel anything strange at this period, while others do. This article was about how I experienced it. But is it negative? No, I’ve learnt a lot from it:
It’s okay not to be okay abroad. It doesn’t mean that I’m weak. It means I need to understand where it comes from.
It’s okay to feel homesick and to miss my family; I won’t lie to myself anymore.
Even though I know how to make myself feel better (playing music), a problem can’t be just bypassed. It will be okay when I’ll know what’s wrong and when I’ll solve it.