Homesick in Paris

Alyssa Mease experiences symptoms of homesickness as she forlornly sits by the coast during her semester abroad in Paris. (Photo Courtesy of Alyssa Mease)

By Alyssa Mease
Foreign Correspondent

At orientation for my school in Paris, we were warned of the signs of homesickness. The teacher told us that if we started to hate certain things about the city, we were probably experiencing it. I scoffed at the idea of ever wanting to go back to the United States, where I have considerably less freedom.

That being said, I’ve recently become disenchanted with the land of baguettes and the Eiffel Tower, and I’ve been trying to convince myself that there is no way I could possibly compare a weekend trip to the Jersey Shore with a weekend trip to a Mediterranean island. But I simply cannot escape my desire to sit in the Library Café with my friends and have a genuine conversation about what Perez Hilton said about Lindsay Lohan.

I have tried rationalizing my newfound disdain for Paris and the Parisians, but it has proved impossible. It is true that the French like to go on strike, but even the worst of the strikes since I’ve been here have not affected me terribly. For example, my TGV train to Brussels was canceled, but I was able to catch a train just an hour later. And I have had to sit in a Metro station for 15 minutes, just to cram into a Metro car with about 1,000 of the smelliest people in the city. But even that has not made me angry or uncomfortable enough to book a plane home.

I have been to coastal cities, bustling cities, the countryside and the prostitution capital of the world, but every time I think, “This is nice, but I think Pennsylvania is better.”

Maybe it’s just my classes that have me in a slump. After all, I am a lone journalism major in a school of business students. I’m taking a math class for the first time since high school, and on top of that, my French civilization teacher is very anti-feminism.

I know that I probably sound like the most spoiled person in the world, but the truth is that there’s really just no place like home. As much as I am grateful for the opportunities I have had this semester, I look forward to going home and being spit upon by my beautiful three-month-old niece.