As I sit down to write this last blog post, I find myself reluctant to get started. As of a few hours ago, I have less than one week left in Paris before I hop on a plane back to the States. I’ve often felt throughout this semester that when I left I would be sad but nevertheless ready to leave, but I underestimated how quickly this semester would fly by. I feel like I just got here, but at the same time that feels so long ago because of how much has changed these past four months. My French language and communication skills have obviously improved a lot, but there are a lot of other changes that have happened that are less tangible/harder to measure. I learned how to be (mostly) self-sufficient for the first time, I encountered city life for the first time, I embraced traveling solo across Europe, and I even found the confidence to make restaurant reservations and argue my phone bill over the phone in French—two things that I would have been reluctant to do even in English before. Overall this semester has taught me how to embrace and enjoy being on my own sometimes—which is something that is difficult to do at a place like Vassar where all your friends are only a five minute or less walk across the Quad. I have a newfound confidence in myself and in my ability to navigate the constant and unexpected twists and turns of everyday life. If I can handle it in French, something tells me that I’ll be okay when everything is back in English again.
I wonder if I’ll end up back here or elsewhere abroad after I graduate. I have no idea if that’s something that I would actually want to do, but what I do know is that I could do it if I decided to. Knowing that in itself is really exciting and empowering. It’s corny to say, but the possibilities that await me in the future are pretty endless; going abroad and living in an entirely new place with a language that is not your own really makes you feel like you can take on all sorts of challenges. Maybe I feel this way because I’m leaving soon and feeling nostalgic, or maybe it’s because the sun has finally decided to make an extended appearance in Paris so there’s suddenly lots of serotonin coursing through my body and making me feel especially positive. When I’m applying for jobs next year I might start feeling differently and less confident in the opportunities that await me (I don’t even want to think about that yet), but for the moment I’m feeling pretty good about whatever my future holds.
Enough sentimental musings! I still have one week left before I need to say goodbye to Paris, and I plan on making the most of every second of it. Since my last post, I went to a rooftop bar on the Seine, frequented several museums including the Musee d’Orsay (post-Impressionism is the best) and the Musee du Quai Branly, climbed to the top of the ruins of an old chateau in Nice (in the south of France), wandered through an ancient Roman amphitheater in Lyon (also in France but not really in the south), met up with an old friend from Vassar in Berlin and went to a techno club there (which was fun but mostly terrifying. Vassar parties have nothing on Berliners, let me tell you), and have wandered through more Parisian parks than I can count now that the sun is finally out.