December 17, 2010 1 Comment
My bags are packed, and in about 8 hours or so I will be on a train headed back to Paris, where this all began, to catch a plane to the states.
Yes, in less than 24 hours, my stay in France will end. I can’t believe it. It seems like yesterday that I was getting on an airplane to Paris, scared out of my mind and yet incredibly excited for what was to come. Yet here we are, on December 17, preparing to head home after an incredibly short (nearly) four months. I am excited to see my family for the holidays, but I’m also scared. Life in America seems like a distant memory. I only hope I’ll be accepting as my home culture as I was of the one that so willingly accepted me.
My stay here in France has been the most amazing experience I could’ve ever asked for. I don’t really know where to start, or what to say, to describe it in a way that anyone could understand. It was such a great thing to be able to live in someone else’s culture for a little while. I have spent this entire time having little moments where I think, “Wow, I’m in FRANCE!” but never actually thought about the implications of what that phrase meant until today. I am in France, 4,000 miles away from my country, in a completely different culture, living as they do, having changed my habits to accomodate theirs. These people, who are so different from the people in my own country, have become normal, familiar almost. I don’t think there’s much more I can ask for. My French has taken a slight jump in improvement too, which is always nice, but that is just one side of the coin.
I’ve been here through the grèves, through the snow, through the long dinners with my family, using the trams as any other person would, walking the streets with them, just living like anyone else. I feel like I have really broadened my horizons in general. I have realized that I love so much more than just French (and oh, how I love French). I love this culture. It is going to be so hard to leave, but I know that all good things must come to an end… including this.
My host sister has forewarned me that she’s going to cry tonight, which I’m not too excited to witness. I’ve already gotten rather emotional today…
I am looking forward to heading “home” (I need to learn how to define that word!) with a new outlook. It’s one thing to visit a country as a tourist, and it’s another to live there as a native would (mostly). I can’t be happier that my first international experience was, the vast majority of the time, the latter.
I’ll never forget it, and I’m sure I’ll always miss it.
Things I love (and will miss): Dinners with my family, breakfast, lunches with my family, pains au chocolat, Sunday night crêpe night, the mountains, the bread, the coffee, the butter, almost everything my host mom makes (except perhaps endives, I can live without them), the facility of public transport, the emphasis toward politeness in shops and whatnot, cafés (Specifically John’s Bar), the water in Grenoble (which tastes amazing, as it comes directly from the mountains), les infos, my host sister and her drawings, …. and more, which I will add as I think of it.
Click on the following link to read a little snippet about my time in Lyon.