Week 12

WORD OF THE DAY: bell (f.): cloche

I apologize for not posting last week; the looming end of the semester has made me lazier than usual. So what’s been going on since last I posted? If you didn’t see it, I did my Instagram takeover for OCSE last week. I also have had several tests in the past two weeks, and spent last weekend in Aix-en-Provence.

I think that the spring weather here has put everyone here, myself included, in a great mood. It’s cool and rainy, but still warm enough for the flowers to come out, for trees to start showing their summer leaves, and for everyone to use any excuse to spend as much time outside as possible.

Last week, we registered for classes for next semester. I think class registration made something very clear for me: my time abroad is almost over. I’ve had mixed emotions over this realization. My first instinct was to panic. What haven’t I done yet this year that I still want to do before I leave? What if I’m not enjoying myself as much as I should be?

I also feel excited. I may have mentioned this before, but a year is a long time to be abroad. It’s been a wonderful, thrilling experience, but I haven’t spent longer than two weeks in the United States since last May. I’m excited to go back to the life I left behind almost twelve months ago when I arrived in London, ready to start this adventure. I’m excited to see my friends and family, and show them how much I’ve changed for the better. I’m especially excited to see my dog, Rosie, again.

As for me worrying I haven’t made the most of my time in Europe, I’d like to quickly recap everything I’ve done this year. In mid-May I flew from Washington DC to London to spend a week with my cousins. I got to see family members that I never get to see, and I visited some of the sights that make London such a great city. I then flew to Turin, where I spent six weeks interning as a translator for a law firm, called Jacobacci & Partners. It was there that I learnt how to take on adult-levels of responsibility, and how to dress, act, and speak like a northern Italian. The stipend they provided covered my rent and proved to me that I can find work as a translator if I look hard enough.

Towards the end of those six weeks, my mother arrived in Turin. After showing her around for a few days, we drove up north to Lake Maggiore. We spent the next two weeks driving around central Europe, and I got to remember just how cool it is that after only taking it for a year in college, my mom can still converse with locals in German.

I flew home in late august and went straight to the funeral of an old friend, and spent the next two weeks recharging in DC. I never wanted to come home before the year started, but I’m so glad now that I did, as that was the last time I got to see my dad.

Two weeks later, I’m back at the airport and flying to Bologna, Italy. It was through Brown in Bologna that I met some really great people who helped me learn to actually hold a conversation in Italian. My roommates became my best friends. Together with my American roommate and our friends, we travelled all over Italy, and even to Warsaw, Poland. We made ourselves uncomfortable, both through unfamiliar situations and learning how to travel cheaply, and became more resourceful with our time and money as a result of stepping outside our comfort zones. Before I could even blink, my time in Bologna was already over.

After a quick Christmas break, I hurried back to Europe to start my semester here, in Paris. I’ve had my grumbles and generally low moments here, but my friends and I really have accomplished so much in the span of three, short months. We threw ourselves whole-heartedly into this french-immersion program, gladly taking all our classes in French, conversing with each other in French, and living with French families. We’ve explored the farthest corners of France, and of Europe in general. We’ve learned that Paris is not always a fairytale city, and we’ve embraced it as our own anyway. Paris is our city, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am tired. It’s been a long year. I’ve accomplished so much here, and I know that everything I’ve experienced here has shaped me into a better, more independent person. I’m tired, but I’m excited for the future. After this semester ends, I plan to travel for a few weeks with my friends, then finally…

I’m going home.

À bientôt,

Elizabeth

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