“Au revoir”

In The Art of Travel Fall 2017, 15. Farewells, Paris by Howard4 Comments

“Au revoir!”

This is the phrase for ‘goodbye’ in French.

It literally means ‘until I see you again’.

At first, I used this phrase to everyone, and they replied the same too, even when we both knew well that we are not going to see each other again. So after a while, I generally stopped using this phrase. I’d rather use my final words to strangers with “have a good day” (Bonne journee) or something that I genuinely wish they will have—a good life, for example.

And now it’s almost time to choose a phrase to end my semester in Paris.

It has been a wonderful semester here. The school and the culture provided us one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and I am glad that I spent four good months as a young man in this city of lights. Looking back, I remembered my first day here, carpooling to my hotel and talking to others strangers about college and future like I was totally prepared for it. However, I certainly was not prepared for such a beautiful city.

I remember my first long walk in the city. I walked all the way from my hotel to the Eiffel tower and then to Avenue Champs-Elysee. I walked pass by the campus and got connected to the Wi-Fi but could not find the entrance of the building. So I looked up and laughed.

I remember my friend, Sammy, who works in the Boulangerie near the campus. He was a part of the NYU community. We talked every day after my class and he always gave me the warmest smile as a welcome. Since a few weeks ago I started to not see him that very often and two weeks ago I got the news from my classmate that Sammy had left the place. We were quite sad about that and now I realized I have not been to that place for a week now. I guess what makes that place special is Sammy, not the chocolate bread there.

I also love the intellectual discussions here. Every Thursday night, my friends and I would buy some cheese and wines beforehand and sit around the table to talk about philosophy and politics. We always have heated debate and different views on the same things. Eventually we agree to disagree, and savor not only the cheese but also the thoughts.

Classes here are so different from those of New York. My largest class has 8 people in it. I always get personal attention, even when I don’t want it. Everyone has the time and chance to reflect their own thoughts and opinions. I got off my class every time with the gratification of knowledge, believe it or not.

I even watched a free soccer game in the stadium of France. As a big soccer fan myself, I went crazy when I stepped into the grand stadium and for the first time I actually watched France national team playing in front of me. Everyone in the stadium was waving the flag and I did exactly the same. I supported France wholeheartedly that night and I probably will do the same next year in the World Cup.

All in all, this pretty much sums up my wonderful semester here in Paris.

Thanks to NYU that makes this experience come true.

Thanks to all my friends for the good memories.

Thanks to all the professors that put in so much work for us.

And especially, thanks to Professor Hutkins for this great website that we get to share our lives and keep as a journal.

“Au Revoir!”


  1. Hi Howard,

    It sounds like you had a good semester in Paris. I definitely understand that sense of missing someone that you previously hadn’t really thought about missing until they were gone. When I stayed in Paris last year I had a similar situation with one of my yoga teachers there. I had a good relationship with her and she always helped me out with my French and Yoga. We saw each other often, so when she just wasn’t there one day I really felt her absences and in that moment realized how much I appreciated her being around. I guess sometimes we have to loose someone to really notice their value.

    1. Author

      Hi Flurin,

      I firmly believe that sometimes we do have to lose someone to realize how important they are. I get used to all the stuff here in Paris and now a few days later I will throw away all the things I adapted here and took granted for. It is also through my stay here in Paris, I started to miss New York really much. And now I realize both Paris and New York are much more than just two cities, they also engrain what we value and what we love.

  2. Hi Howard,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your final days (week) at Paris. I specifically wanted to comment on your post because I recognized the place where you took your post’s featured image. I visited the summer of 2012 and took an almost identical photo of the ceiling, minus the Christmas Tree. I’m glad that you were able to have such a lovely semester in Paris, eight people in a class are incredibly small! It is also exciting that you were able to watch a soccer game in France as I have always wanted to but have never had the opportunity! I’m sure that France would like to say “Au Revoir” to you also. 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Yuka,

      Thanks for your comment! I think one of the wonderful things about travel is that you can always relate the experience with someone who has been to the same place. When I hear people sharing their experience in Paris, New York and even China, I’m always interested to find out what their experiences were and how are they different from mine. It’s a good thing because they will lead you to look at a whole new perspective of things.

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