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Hi everybody. I guess I’m home.
I got back to Los Angeles on Sunday, and mostly it’s pretty surreal. I think I have trouble noticing when things change drastically in my life (or understanding the significance of these changes when they happen). It feels good to be home, and I’m excited to start my internship at an independent press on Monday, and to hang out with my good friends/family here, and to spend time in the sunshine.
Today, it kind of hit me that I came home. I spent my last couple days in Paris hanging out with my exchange group and other friends that I made in Paris, spending the days doing “last things” (going to bars with Nikki and other british friends, going to the best hidden hot chocolate cafe in the Marais, talking with Audrey over pastries, last parties in my chambre de bonne, taking walks and going out to dinner for Vincent’s birthday). Everyone in my exchange group left on Saturday (which feels crazy—I said goodbye to everyone, and off we all go, back to normal lives). Then I spent my last Saturday afternoon/evening with Vincent in Parc de Bercy (literally, the first sunny day in Paris since November…we sat under a tree that was spewing pollen everywhere, it looked like it was snowing in the sunshine!), and he brought me to Charles de Gaulle airport the next morning. I was perfectly-sane Chelsea until I said goodbye to Vince and went into the line for security…then I started crying.
Paris was good to me, and I had one of the most amazing years—not because I made the most friends, or got drunk every night or went to the Louvre oh so many times (none of these things really happened). But I think I grew again (always again), as a person, because of the genuinely wonderful people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had (living as a real person in French and in Paris, traveling to England, Switzerland, Italy and Spain). And I have to remember to not forget what I’ve learned—my ability to be easygoing, to make big decisions about my life, and to be genuine (show my true emotions, communicate, feel strongly about things that matter to me). Memories are most important in that weird phase after they happen and before you forget them—and I’m doing my best to not forget anything (and to not end up feeling like none of it ever happened).
So ends my year in Paris! (Second year in France, junior year of college). I feel more like a grown-up person than ever before…and I think I have the confidence and general good-feelings about the world to help me this summer, in my final year of undergraduate, etc. I’ll have lots of stories to tell (making galettes in kitchens at midnight, cracking eggs one in each hand, meeting interesting people on bar couches after sanity is a little slurred, having tea with 60 year old linguists in Catherine Deneuve’s old apartment, talking to metro drivers about vintage american cars, and walking at night, listening to voices drifting from open windows). And I’ll have lots of french to keep speaking.
And so, à bientôt, Paris—je reviendrai au plus tôt possible!
Last week in Paris…
I don’t understand at all how it came so quickly!!
It’s frightening to think about, mostly! Close to a year in Paris, and it’s all ending next Sunday. I’m kind of scared to go home, because I feel really good/at home here, and I keep reminding myself of all the wonderful things that await me in LA! (family, friends, good weather, etc.). Mostly…I wish I could stay forever (I’ve started to look at Masters programs in France, and it’s actually pretty feasible…anyways…). I feel more at home here than everyone else in my exchange program—I really love it here, and I don’t think I’m in the honeymoon stage anymore. And I’ve made so many friends here—leaving is changing again, leaving is returning to a reality that is no longer my reality, leaving is trying to again fit into a mold that I’ve slightly grown out of.
Last week things: going to the marché tomorrow morning, monday night au Chat Noir (the last time ever, with all my friends!), Vincent’s birthday on thursday, last dinner party with exchanger friends on friday/sunrise watching, then everyone leaves on Saturday. Then I leave on Sunday.
Somewhere in between everything that’s going on I need to pack. And do intense room clean-up. Take some more photos, say some goodbyes. And try not to sob all of the time.