Sometimes I wonder how a minuscule moment of seeing something or someone can go so deep in the memory lane and leave me nostalgic for the rest of the time. A few days back, I saw few foreign students near the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (I had a fair guess that they are pursuing a master degree there). They remind me of our (floodies’) time back in Europe. And next day, I saw someone’s running to the bus with a similar light green back pack which our Hungs used to have. Hungs with that back pack was so iconic that we hardly saw them apart. And these flash memories made me ended up on our blog again. 🙂
Well, I thought to continue writing after coming back home. But just the thought of writing about Erasmus and floodies gave me a deep sense of nostalgia. So, I didn’t dare try writing. 🙂
Despite the feeling of nostalgia, I have got a reverse cultural shock after I came back to my home country. Yes, I came back to the country I was born, the country I grew up and lived for many many years. I know, for some of you, it might be hard to believe when I say I found it very difficult to get used to the country I used to live my whole life. But strangely, that is one of the effects of being an Erasmus. You get so used to the transition of different cultures, different foods, different people and so many adventures in between that once you are back to your old ordinary life you start to feel it’s less vibrant and less lively.
During the first two or three weeks of my arrival, I couldn’t hold a whoosh of happiness pounding inside the heart when I saw Asian products (specially the spices) in the supermarket. (They were not so common to find in Europe) Plus, my mom had to warn me many times “Why do you want to buy so many Asian things, you think the store will run out of stocks or what?”. 😀 Not to mention that during first few days I found its bit of an odd feeling to hear people speaking my mother tongue, as I hardly met any Sri Lankans during my stay abroad. But yes, warm tropical climate, spicy food, my familiar bed and sight of my loving family gave me the happiest feeling of being with my family, at my home. Also the continuous honking and impatient drivers who hit the road like they own it, some people who don’t care much about the traffic lights, people’s opinions (mostly judgmental people) about how you should dress, how to behave and the people who think that they can plot your life better than yourself, brought me back to the reality that I do am back in my home country. And sometimes, I found myself hard controlling not to let swears slip my mouth (Though, I don’t promote swearing as a really nice thing. But it did help me to release the annoying feeling in a way 😛 ). But here, it is considered not good for a well-behaved girl to swear loudly. So yes, others’ opinions do matter, see! And I very well know that I owe a huge gratitude for my other half’s enormous patience for tolerating my Post-Erasmus stress or tantrum or whatever it is called. Ha! Side effects of Erasmus! 😉
And even without intending to do, many things remind me of floodies. Like when I cook alone, I usually remember how Dinya and I used to cook together. And Piyush whenever I cut/chop Garlic and use coconut milk for the curries! Franchie, whenever I use pepper, as she was demanding I add like one kilo of pepper while frying eggs. 😛
There are special memories of every floodie which I will not add here as the list will go very long. I do miss you all guys.
Until recently, I couldn’t help, but telling the stories of how we did many things together, how we travelled, got lost in cities and so on. They kept popping up in ordinary conversations most of the time. But somehow I had a thought that may be others might get bored with these continuous Europe blah blah stuff and they might think that I’m kind of showing off. Also, on the other hand, I realised that it’s difficult for them to share my thoughts the same way I feel, as they didn’t really experience it with me. Then, I learnt to keep quiet whenever some memory in Europe crosses my mind during a usual talk with my office colleagues or other friends. But yes, the unshared reminisce always gave a light smile on my face. 🙂
And I understood that there are some things that can be only shared with floodies with the same way I feel about them. Don’t get me wrong. I won’t say that I don’t value my old friends. Of course, I love my old friends with my life! And they know too much about me that I don’t dare to let them go. 😉
Yet, every person is unique in a different way. And living far away from your usual comfort zone where you surrounded by your family and friends needs real courage and there they were, stand by me for my entire stay. And being a second family, the floodies. We used to live together, travel together, cook together and study together. And that creates a special and unique bond among your selves. Even after you go back home, you carry that special bond with you. I think almost all Erasmus people will agree on that.
They say “Erasmus is not just two years in your life, but your life in two years”. Whoever said that in the first place, you won my heart! It is so damn true! When I look back, I really can’t believe that I lived that kind of an amazing life. I came back with a changed me, it was indeed a life changing experience and going for Erasmus was one of the best decisions I have ever taken in my life! No regrets at all!
But the worst thing I found was, I can never be completely at home again. Cause part of me is always missing being at somewhere else. Missing all the nice people and places I met along my way. Yet, it is always a nice feeling knowing that I collected a lot of beautiful memories which I can cherish for the rest of my life. And good friends who last a life time from around the world!
PS: Below pics we took in the last days prior departures to our own countries