One of my friends suggested that my university exchange was an opportunity to temporarily re-write my identity. I could go to Barcelona for six months as whoever I wanted to be. Nobody was going to do background checks; exchange was an absolutely fresh start. Maybe I could give myself a mysterious background such as a Russian spy or put on a classy accent, just to experiment in a land where nobody knows me. Although it was pretty tempting to tell people I was actually a Moldovan or an astronaut-in-training, in the end I decided to go into my exchange pretending I was a normal eater. I thought I could leave my eating disorder in Canada and pretend I wasn’t an obsessive food-fixator with a hearty record of therapy and occasional relapses. Honestly, faking normal eating is a bit more challenging than a Moldovan accent.
Claire is a third-year student in International Studies who is currently on exchange in Barcelona. She was diagnosed with an eating disorder four years ago, and keeps working on recovery step-by-step with the outstanding and never-ending support of her family and friends—no matter what country she happens to be in.