Nov 15th, 2017, 04:14 PM

I Am Going Home, I Am Not Homesick

By Savannah Hunter
Image Credit: Unsplash/Jad Limcaco
Don't call me weak.

I do not miss Mississippi. I do not miss driving everywhere. I do not miss everyone knowing my name. I will miss stopping by Franprix and buying two euro wine. I will miss being a 20-minute metro ride from the Eiffel Tower. I will miss the aesthetic that comes with living in Paris. So why am I going home? I need to do what is best for me. That is not how others see it. Others think I am going home to be with my loved ones. That is a nice perk but that is not why. Others think I am going home because I am not strong enough to be apart from my family or home for long periods of time. At this school, it seems to be a competition to see who can stay away from home the longest. What is this mentality that being away from home the longest makes you the strongest? People give me this sad, condescending look and say, "Oh you're homesick?" No, I am going home. I am not homesick.

You can be strong anywhere. If your strength lies within you staying in Paris for as long as you can without returning home, then all to you. But that is not me. I do not think you are weak for staying or even remotely ridiculous so why is it that I get weird looks? Is it because I am leaving glorious Paris to return to Mississippi? I am sorry Paris does not have Chick-Fil-A. I am only slightly kidding. Long story short, there are structures and systems put in place that benefit and support me that Paris does not provide. The same way your home does not provide them for you.

Image Credit: Unsplash/Ihor Malytskyi

I do not mean to seem like I am attacking you. It is not my intention. I really do respect those that can do what I cannot. I respect that you found your dream and goals much sooner than I found mine. Your dream was once mine. We are not too far apart from one another. I know geographically we will be. But, our homes are different. I do not mean that some of us come from the Bible belt and others from the Great White North but that we see our homes differently.

My home is where I am happiest. The United States, for right now.

Your home is where you are happiest. France, for right now.

It is not even just AUP students. Even back home our peers are constantly instilling into our minds that we have a sense of strength by going to college. I doubt anyone would say we are strong if we chose to go to a college two hours from home. I doubt they would say that if we were an eight-hour drive from home. But, we are not. We are an eight-hour flight. Is that where the strength lies? I am not here to berate anyone. It may be their form of strength but it just can make someone feel weak when they go home.

This is for everyone who has contemplated going home. Do it. Do what makes you happy because that does not make you weak. If anyone tells you that you should stay here, they might just be living vicariously through you and not thinking of you. Go home because that is what makes you strong. Doing what is for you. Pat your friend on the back for staying here, because they are strong. Let them pat you on the back for going home, because you are strong.

It sounds a little preachy at this point. You know? Kind of like John Green wrote a speech meant for a teenage girl who comes to a revelation in the middle of a lecture. Maybe, just maybe, it is what is needed. What is needed is that someone removes the stigma of going home. Let us stop assuming that going home is an act of weakness when it is a display of strength. As someone once told me, “You have to be where it feels right.” It takes a lot to admit something that people consider a weakness. That is what strength is.