OP-ED: Abroad Did Not Change Me Enough

So, you know how people “jokingly” say “abroad changed me,” in a satirical jab to annoying girls who come back making sure you know that it’s actually pronounced Bar-TH-elona or correct you when you call the train in London “the subway?” Well, thanks to COVID, I failed to pick up these foreign quirks since I was sent home early from my study abroad program in Paris.


Thus, abroad did not change me enough.


Before I travelled to Paris, I was always too ashamed to pronounce French terms in English “correctly.” One time, I accidentally pronounced the drink La Croix in its intended French pronunciation and was mocked. I intentionally avoided accurate French pronunciations, for fear of sounding pretentious. Baguettes were “bag-etts,” croissants were “crah-sants,” and I winced every time I uttered “I’ll have the crape, sir.”

If not for the pandemic, this would be the case: I come back from 5-month études à l’étranger in “Par-ee,” clad in chic camel-hair coats and a beret (but not the touristy ones). I continue to post “candid” throwback photos with long French captions. I refuse to eat any pastry because they “just don’t compare to the boulangerie ah, sorry, BAKERY— next to my apartment.” Oh, and I have a cigarette addiction.

But no. I was robbed of all that because my time abroad was cut too short. Instead I celebrate my pity party crying into dry, sad grocery-store baguettes, while I listen to only Louis Armstrong’s version of La Vie en Rose, and post Instagrams in dumb English that my followers can actually comprehend.

And I still hate cigarettes. Ugh.

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