mommy, don’t make me go home!

I can’t believe I’ve been here for three months. I knew the time would fly past like nothing when I signed on to this program, but back in September there were a few nights when this was cold and lonely comfort. Every foreign exchange student I’ve ever talked to has said it took about three months for them to fully adjust, and it looks like I’m no exception – only in the last couple weeks have I started to find the people I like instead of the people I just like to hang out with, the places worth going back to, yadda, yadda, yadda. Finally there are more things for me to do than time for me to do them in, and I like it that way.

It’s an interesting timescale problem. Since I never moved when I was a kid, the only comparison for me to make is with that one time where I went to college. Caltech offers an incredible amount of social support for the incoming frosh, not to mention the utter lack of language issues, but it still took me just over a full 10-week term to really feel at home. Why?

  • social somethinorother? This is when I wish I had kept a diary two years ago. Thinking back on the beginnings of my frosh year, I do remember shifting back and forth between wildly different groups of people, but I can’t really recall how it felt at the time. I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer concentration of similar interests, I think, which is something that hasn’t happened here – but I’ve definitely been doing the same sort of group-switching, trying to find a match. Of course, I didn’t feel like I had a very stable group of friends until roundabout my third term at Tech, and warm fuzzy feelings about some people here notwithstanding I doubt I’ll feel socialwise stable until the night before I leave. If then.
  • geography? Knowing where things are is essential. It’s also a tricky thing to measure, but I think in both cases the three-month mark was a little bit after the time when I could comfortably find my way around based on major cross-streets and landmarks, rather than maps and complicated directions. This probably has more to do with it than I initially thought.
  • sex? Sex is a great way to generate artificial intimacy and coziness, but I haven’t gotten laid for an unconscionably long time, so will those of you who know me in realityland please stop scratching your heads and counting on your fingers? Thanks.
  • mysterious neurochemistry? Since I’m not a biologist or brain-person of any stripe, and this is a rambling blog entry and not a grant proposal, using this answer would be cheating.

Oy. Since there are apparently “hordes of foreign exchange students with everything in common with me” reading this, maybe someone has more insight?

Oh, and the thing that initially prompted the cold chills of a childhood end-of-playtime temper was my discovery of Portalen, where one of my most favoritest bands ever is scheduled to play on the 10th. (thanks Dennis!) If anyone in Copenhagen wants to join me there, let me know…

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