As December 14th approaches, I wonder when, if ever, I’ll be back in Paris. The feeling is so extraordinary because it’s something I’ve never felt before. I’ve never made a home in a new place for four months, and then had to abandon it. I want to come back, but realistically, it takes time and resources that I won’t be able to procure for some time to see this beautiful city again. I feel detached and uneasy as the date of my departure approaches. I suppose this is a sign of a semester well-spent.
What I felt was most rewarding about studying in Paris was the new friendships I made, especially as someone reluctant and wary to meeting new people, being more of an introvert. I’ll take their friendships and our experiences back to New York with me, and that is something I’m extremely grateful and excited for. And as much as I value the Parisian lifestyle, there are a few things I am eager to go back to New York for. I had issues with overcoming my intimidation to speak French in public settings in France. The inner fear of embarrassing myself never relented, even though I know it wouldn’t be a big deal. I wish that I had tried to use my French more, rather than holding back and just beginning with english and hand signals, but it’ll be a relief to be in a country where I don’t have to translate in my mind before speaking. Going home, I hope I’ll appreciate this, and all parts of New York differently, and try to really get to know the city as I did in Paris. I want to stop frequenting the same places and to seek out new locations with only a year and a semester left in New York, and be able to feel the same heavy heart when I graduate as I do now, leaving Paris. I plan on taking note of the things I took for granted at home which I realized once in France.
Years from now I’ll remember the small moments that had the most impact, as opposed to large chunks of time that will eventually blend together. On each of my trips, I can recount an anecdote that I’ll be sure to carry with me. Already some of the trips I took early on in the semester are beginning to fade in my memory. It definitely will be the small moments, like almost missing a bus back to Nice and running rampant through Monaco trying to find it. I’ll remember my first true jazz club experience in Paris, and subsequent hangover I felt on Monday. I’ll remember some great meals made amongst friends in our shared kitchen. There are the memories I share with my parents, and my friends from New York who visited, which will surely be ones I’ll carry forever.
I will also take from my Paris study abroad experience the value of blogging that I learned in the Art of Travel class. It taught me to think deeply and recount my existence in Paris, and how to share that with others. I like to think that I’ll have this website to look back on to recall the trials and tribulations of the past four months. Hopefully, I’ll continue to use the blogging skills here to put in writing my future trips. One of my favorite things about this class was reading about fellow student’s anecdotes from other cities, and learning from their wisdoms. I wish all news was presented in this manner, with a story, a picture, and a personalized touch to it. I’d encourage anyone to study abroad in Paris, but also, to take this class and learn to share their experiences with others through written media.