Two days from now I'll actually be on a plane crossing the Atlantic, so I just wanted to wrap up some of my thoughts about this extraordinary year.
(here begins the emotional reflection):
The night before I left for Paris I cried myself to sleep in my mom's bed. I was nervous. At the time I did not have plans to go home for 9 months, and that was a terrifying thought. Though I'll never talk about my first 20 minutes in the hell-hole that is Charles de Gaule airport, if I had been able to get a hold of my mother I would have told her to book me the first plane back home. And (those that follow me on twitter know) then I cried myself to sleep for about the first week and a half I was here. It's not that I wasn't having fun - I was, and I was meeting a lot of great people - I just saw 9 long months ahead of me and I was scared to death.
But, it turns out that 9 months isn't all that long after all, and here I am at the end of it. Despite an emotional start, I am not at all prepared to leave this place that I now call home. This may not be true, but I feel as though I have had a unique experience during my study abroad. First of all, I am fortunate enough to have studied here for a year. I did not just live the party/travel experience that I see so often either. I found a job, a routine, people that have looked out for me, making sure I wasn't really alone. I fell completely in love with this city, despite the rain and the everlasting winter. I was enchanted by it, as they say here.
Last night was my send-off party from work and it was amazing, and touching, to see how important I was to others. I wasn't just a passerby, I became a part of people's lives. Even one of the parents yesterday gave me an enormous hug and told me I would be missed.
Despite all that, though, I have not yet had an emotional breakdown about leaving. Besides the fact that leaving doesn't actually feel real, I am absolutely positive that I'll come back. There's also that fact that I'm pretty excited to have my senior year at Ohio State. After that, though, I know I'll be ready to start the life that I have come to love. I'm not sure I'm going to do it yet, but one way or another, I'll make my way back to the city that has stolen my heart.
Thanks for listening this year, everyone. It has been an absolutely pleasure getting to share my extraordinary time in Paris with you. I'll try to get some of my pictures edited (on my 9.5 hours flight) and I'll put them up as soon as I can.
And for now I'll say à bientôt to you and my beautiful Paris.
"America is my country, and Paris is my hometown" - Gertrude Stein.