At the Core.

15 comments
Nordic Sweater: c/o OASAP.
Plaid Skirt, Cream Blouse, Cut Out Boots, Necklace: Thrifted.
Beret: AA.

Going to Europe for four months changed me in a lot of ways, but at the core of it all I'm still the same. I suppose I thought that this big life change would weed out all of the parts of myself I didn't like. I really don't know why I thought that, but I did. I thought that if I did this trip which was so outside of my comfort zone, that I would become this outgoing and socially confident person.

I'm still not.

A struggle that I've found since not even being back a week in Ohio, is that I simply can't find the words to talk about my trip. I keep running into people I know around town who saw my trip on Facebook or instagram or my blog and of course, they ask how it was. And I never, ever know what to say. I usually start by saying it was great, but I'm glad to be back, and then I always get the same perplexed stare of: "what the hell is wrong with you?" I stutter and stumble around trying to explain that Italy was nice, but it just wasn't what I expected and that it was hard for me, and that I'm glad to be home because I missed it. But how do you explain to someone in a two minute small talk conversation everything you went though and how it just wasn't what you thought it would be? How do you explain the homesickness, the awful roommates, the not fitting in, the realizations within yourself that you found that maybe you didn't want to find? People don't want to hear all that. They want to hear how great Italy was.

Sometimes I just want to say that. "Yeah it was the greatest semester of my life and I can't wait to go back." It would be so much easier. I probably wouldn't sound like a complete idiot when they try and ask me questions I don't have the right answer to. I probably wouldn't sound like a complete spoiled brat who just spent four months in Italy and didn't completely enjoy it. And I probably wouldn't feel the shame, disappointment, and strangeness when I tell people-- "it was just... okay."

There were times when it was great, times when I was having the time of my life. But as a whole, I didn't. I just didn't. It's not my fault, it's not Italy's fault, it's not anyone's fault. It is what it is. And there's so much I can't explain to all of these people where I feel I can give an answer that satisfies me that they understand what I went through over there. 

I just don't know what to say to anyone.

With much love, Lauren.
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15 lovely little notes:

lisa said...

I love your honesty with this! It is definitely hard to convey those feelings in small talk. Even though it was an amazing opportunity and adventure, it was still... life. And I love that you are sharing that side of your trip. Traveling is so, so good for us to have these experiences, but it's also good to remind us what we love about home! I love this wintery look :)

Coco said...

Super cute Lauren, I love the mix of prints!
Baci,
Coco et La vie en rose - Valeria Arizzi

Kezzie said...

As I've mentioned about Bali, I felt similar. I loved it on many ways but it was incredibly hard and I was glad to be home! And when people ask me, that's what I generally say. Just say, "It was an incredible experience and I saw lots if great places and learnt lots but at the sane time it gas made me realise just how much I value home!"

Oh and I do like your cutesy outfit.
Drop by and say hi if you get time- I have a floral crown I think you'd love!x

Katie Burry said...

You remind me so much of myself sometimes, Lauren. I think in some ways we're both our own worst enemy - so nervous that people will judge us for being different, kind of wishing we weren't different, but at the same time proud of it. I can't wait to talk to you soon!! <3

Hannah Rupp said...

That's a tough spot to be in. I think I'd probably react the same way as you! I always give an awkward answer when old friends/acquaintances comments on my 90+ pound weight loss since it happened because of a health issue. I just try to be nice and simple when I respond. If they know me pretty well or feel like prying, then I'd totally spill the deets! Sometimes you just gotta tell people what they want to hear. ;)

You're looking so festive and fab! I like what Italy did to your style. haha

Sammi said...

First of all, these photos are beautiful -- I seriously need to pick your brain on how you get all your photos so vibrant and lovely (I think we use the same DSLR). Secondly... don't feel like you have to justify anything! You should really be proud of daring to do what you did, and pushing yourself so far outside your comfort zone! And you know what? You survived, and you went to some beautiful places. Even if the trip wasn't at all what you hoped it would be, don't discount all the things you learned about yourself. At least now you don't have to ask "what if?" You did it! You didn't like it! Travel certainly isn't for everyone (I've never wanted to travel, and when I see actors I went to school with having an amazing time around the world on tour, I really don't have one ounce of jealousy)! Maybe you'll feel like traveling later in life, and maybe you won't. There's no shame in being honest about your experience <3

xox Sammi

Ashleigh.Michelle said...

I completely understand where you're coming from, Lauren. When people ask me where I'm going with my life, I have no idea what to say to them either. I'm kind of in a waiting room right now, but there's no easy way to tell someone that without them thinking something's wrong with you. I'm 23 and still have not settled on a career choice. I know that God has a plan for my life, I just don't know what it is yet, and it's really hard to explain that to people. All this to say, I completely get you.
Your outfit looks so pretty! Can you please go shopping for me? :D

Eccentric Owl said...

I'm so sorry you're finding it hard to express how you've felt about Italy. I really don't think you would sound like a spoiled brat to express how you really feel about it. And I completely understand! I do love to travel, but at the end of it all my heart is happiest at home.
I love this outfit; the sweater is so perfectly seasonal without being overt-holiday!
xo
Kristina
www.eccentricowl.com

Jeannee Waseck said...

"it was lifechanging" ... that may just cover it all, don't you agree???

Miche said...

I definitely understand this - I think people really expect people to always have positive things to say, or to always be happy. But sometimes, thats just not the reality of it. I've had great trips, or at least great moments on trips, and when people ask me I typically stick to talking about those..its hard to balance being honest and 'socially acceptable'.

I bet what you went through is something a lot of people went though and are afraid to say stuff like this. Kudos to you for your honesty!

Rhesa said...

Thanks so much for your honesty. It's really beautiful! xx

Sabina B. said...

Nice look and photos!


http://jeansandroses.blogspot.com

ellie balangue said...

love lvoe your pullover so perfect for the Christmas!


New Outfit Post

Abigail said...

Lauren, I've been reading your posts since I found out about you and your blog from a magazine. Not sure if it was Seventeen or Teen Vogue. All I know is that it was a very long time ago and I've still managed to keep up with your posts. It's great you were able to have that amazing experience, it's still a dream I've yet to make happen, but it's totally ok for you to not be completely changed by it all. Aside from all of that, I hope you have a happy holiday!

Anonymous said...

Lauren, as a mother of one of your readers, I have an older perspective and thought I'd share it. I studied abroad when I was in college, and went through some of the same things you did. However, I think you're missing a few key pieces. No one ever said it would be easy. It is a part of growing up that is inevitable, and every single person has to face it. You were undoubtedly uncomfortable, as was everyone else there. What you take out of studying abroad depends on how you deal with that discomfort. The other people that were with you were all experiencing the same challenges whether you see it or not. Your trials were not what separated you from them; it's how you dealt with them that did. My advice to you is next time you have an opportunity like this, try not to focus on yourself and your hardships so much. Get to know the people around you. They are going through similar things and could help. I understand your love for solitude and space- I am the same way. However, I think if you took all this time you dedicate to blogging your frustrations into cyberspace and channelled it into new relationships, you might feel less isolated. Now is a good opportunity to think back on your time and how you can learn from it and keep an open mind next time.

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