For nearly a month and a half, I’ve been 4,897 miles and seven daylight hours away from home. During this time, I’ve developed my German language skills, seen some amazing sights and challenged myself in ways I never thought possible.
Through this all, I’ve learned a lot about me. I’ve also realized how foolishly I used to take things for granted.
- The ability to come up with a recipe, drive to the grocery store, buy the necessary ingredients, go back to my own kitchen and cook.
- The opportunity to see my friends in real life, rather than on a 15 inch computer screen.
- The comfort of an all-encompassing hug.
- Being called “Mimi.”
The first few on the list were fairly obvious. To some extent, they were even anticipated; I knew when I was signing up to study abroad that there would be challenges of communication and frustrations with independence.
What I didn’t expect, though, was to miss something so seemingly small and casual as being called “Mimi.”
My family and close friends have called me “Mimi” for as long as I can remember. In time, I even became more prone to respond when “Mimi” was called on the street than my actual name, considering “Emily” is so common.
Still, in work and school I’ve always been “Emily.” For that reason, I didn’t think twice when introducing myself as “Emily” to everyone on my study abroad trip.
One day, a few weeks into my trip, I was walking a different route to school. I had become almost accustomed to disregarding the graffiti that decorates the wall of almost every public place. This day, though, something caught my eye.
Although I was a little turned-off my the usage of a “u” instead of spelling out “you,” my heart couldn’t help but be warmed.
Every day since then, I’ve made the deliberate effort to walk past this wall. The block letters aren’t nearly as endearing as when my family and friends call me “Mimi.” Nonetheless, I can’t help but smile.
Whew, what a long way to explain why you may notice a name change on the bottom of my about page!