Update on Life

Haven’t posted in a while, but I assure you the adventures continue.

Transitions back have been far more difficult than I ever imagined. I’ve been fed up, pissed off with and unmotivated by the most random assortment of things.

Espresso is my coffee now. Everything else is water. (Not really, but I also can’t live without espresso anymore).

My idea of bringing alcohol to a party is wine. Why? France. That’s why. It’s also delicious. Blackberry Wine is the most amazing thing on the planet. Followed by whiskey. Followed by coconut rum (why didn’t anyone tell me about this stuff earlier, oh my god).

And I’ve been dating. For six months now (here’s the page I made, hope you love corgis as much as I do). And very soon, I will be engaged, preparing to graduate, finding a job, and setting out on a brand new adventure.

That is way more terrifying than anything else yet.

And that sounds great to me.

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Things I No Longer Understand Since France

1) Pancake mixes. (They don’t exist in France, so I’ve just been making them by scratch and it’s so easy!)

2) Gallons of milk. I mean, liters were working just fine and now I feel cowed by my own milk.

3) American alcohol culture. I just literally don’t understand anymore.

4) The lack of bakeries. Seriously though. Where the hell am I supposed to get pastries and bread?

5) Where’d all the cobblestone go?

6) How am I supposed to go places if I can’t walk there?

7) So…where did the espresso go?

8) You mean I can actually SEE my friends again? Wait. What? They live in the same time-zone? Woah man. One thing at a time please.

In the End There’s Only Love

Well my time in France is done for now and I am back home. As we all know, I will never forget my time there and it is so bitter-sweet to be home. I made some pretty fantastic friends. Friends from different countries, different states and all with the most wonderful views and experiences. I think that might be the hardest part about leaving. Leaving all those wonderful, fantastic people.

What isn’t hard is leaving French University. And that’s the last time I complain about it here! Because I will also miss just how jank the Fac des Lettres was. I doubt I’ll go into a building like it again!

I’m also going to miss this. My home street. The place I walked up everyday for a year. Cobblestones, a sketchy shisha place and the strangest lingerie shop I’ve ever come across.

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France, I’ll miss you. My friends, I will miss you more.

p.s. culture shock is really gonna suck.

It’s The End of the World as We Know It

Exams are done and I don’t have to deal with the French education system anymore! Woohoo! However, as good as it feels to be finally done with school for the year, it also means I’m done here.

So many goodbyes to be said. So many said already.

But in the meantime I’m running like a crazed chicken trying to do EVERYTHING before it’s all over. Including shutting down my bank account, which will be interesting. Oh the glories of French bureaucracy. You might be the one thing in this country I most definitely will NOT miss.

What We Were

June 6, 1944 was D-Day. It was the moment when America hit the ground in France and began the invasion that would lead to the fall of Nazis Germany.

And that moment marked France.

Listening to my French dinner family talk about it, I realized for the first time what that really meant. It was America’s glorious world moment. Not just because we won. Not just because we saved France from the Nazis. But because Americans, thousands of Americans, gave their lives to the beaches. To free France. All despite the fact that they probably didn’t have anything to do with France before that day.

We saved them, and paid with our blood.

And I think America remembers that glory and sacrifice. We remember how much thanks we received for coming to the aid of the Allies against the fascists. And I think that’s why we get involved in conflicts around the world now. We want that old glory back. We want to live it again.

But the reason we had it in the first place is because it was selfless. I mean, obviously we had a definite interest in doing it, but that glory of war wasn’t why we went in. And ever since, I think, it has.

We keep “bringing democracy” to people like we’re fighting the same old fight against first the fascists and then the communists. The only difference is we didn’t invade Germany or Russia in 1933 or 1917. We waited until someone else said, “We need help.”

Adventures

Having my parents and brother to visit me here was incredible. Tired as I was afterwords, it was well worth every second. The trips we did were fun, but honestly. It was good just to be together as a family and to show them where I’m living. Because, as I said before, this is really where I am living.

I got to introduce them to real hot chocolate. Which is basically like drinking hot pudding and is generally the most delicious thing ever.

I also went with them here. To Cassis.

Cassis, France

Yeah. If you haven’t gone. Put that one on your list. Or at least some Calanques somewhere.

Oh. And Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Because it’s one of the most amazing and stunning and arresting and generally awesome views I’ve ever seen.

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A Quiver of the Ending

Two weeks of classes left before two weeks of break and then two weeks of finals. And then home.

But it’s interesting. “Home,” evasive as it has been for me the past four years of my life, seems never to stop shifting for me.

When my parents came to visit, I noticed that this place has become my home. I’m not a tourist here. I do touristy things sometimes, but even then I return home to Aix. And that’s the thing about study abroad I most definitely didn’t think about or anticipate.

I’m not just a student. Or a bystander. Or “an American.”

I am a resident.