I am dreading "that post" that I'm supposed to write to sum up my entire experience without being too wordy. How does one write about an experience like the one I've had? Am I supposed to talk about the places I have been, how everything I saw made the world a little more beautiful? Am I supposed to talk about how every person I met taught me something and changed me a little? Should I mention all the food I ate, and how miraculously my pants still fit?
Five months ago I left home bound for Europe. It was the first time I had really traveled without my family. It felt weird, scary and exciting. I landed in Lyon and discovered how beautiful France was. Lyon was inmensely beautiful and I fell in love immediately. I discovered how great it was to make new friends. I met the Chardiny's who I would discover were the kindest French people I would ever meet. I felt homesickness, I felt scared starting classes, but I discovered a new kind of power, being on my own.
In Feburary, I went to Dublin. It was earth-shattering, heart-breaking, mind-blowingly beautiful. I am thankful for the people I got to travel with, the friends I made and the things I saw. I saw the Atlantic ocean for the first time! I drank Guinness looking out over the city. I laughed my way threw a literary pub crawl. I laughed so hard that I thought I would never catch my breath. I felt so Irish.
In March, I went to Geneva and discovered that Swiss chocolate is actually pretty good. I discovered that all this traveling has made me really consider Seattle homebase. I missed it's green and rain. I went back to Lyon, and found it to be just as beautiful as the first time. Midterms kicked my ass but I was introduced to the French school system. It makes me really thankful for SU. I went to Avignon and saw Coeur de Pirate in concert. I fell in love the guitarist. Finally, I fulfilled my dreams and went to Paris. I ate saw it sparkle, ate Macaroons under the Eiffel tower in the sun, and explored la belle ville with some people I hope to always call friends.
In April, I started really freaking out about having to leave France. After the past few months I have finally mastered the French walk, fast and smooth. And I was starting to get a grasp on the language. Just when I was getting comfortable in France I decided to go to Italy. I spent a week visiting five cities and it was tiring. I saw all the things you read about in History and Art books. It was surreal. It was unforgettable. But at the end I came back to France and felt relieved. I missed France.
In May, I finally got that tan that has been avaiding me. I finished classes, and felt like I passed my exams. I packed up my suitcase(s) and I think they might be under the weight limit. I got to travel to Morocco with 11 other students. I some great Moroccans who made me sugary mint tea, and learned how to actually bargain. I slept in the Sahara Desert under the stars with only a sheet between me and the sky. I watched the sunrise. I rode a camel. Morocco has broaded my world view.
Since January I have been to Lyon, Chambery, Vizille, Dublin, Cliffs of Moher, Annecy, Geneva, Lyon (again), Avignon, Paris, Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican City, Marseille, and Chartreuse.
In the last five monthes I learned how to live in the moment. I learned that laughter is the best medicine. I learned to be thankful. I learned that I loved France. I spent my time seeking adventures, sometimes they were little and only involved me eating a macaroon. They were different each time, but together they have changed me completely.
Today I come home. Slowly the hours are ticking away before I land in Portland. Time is a fickle bitch.
It feels like my heart is breaking. I wish I could go back and yet move forward. All the things I've seen and done, and the people I met are just memories now. Unforgettable memories.