Today marked my final day at CIDEF and my final full day in Angers. In the afternoon tomorrow, I depart for Paris, and then fly home on Saturday. It’s difficult to believe that this incredible experience is drawing to a close.
This semester has had several moments of both joy and sorrow, and sometimes at the same time. These final days have reflected this as I am anxious to return to the States, to see my family and friends, to celebrate Christmas, and to eat Tex-Mex and my mom’s food again. At the same time, I’m going to miss the incredible people I have met during my time here and the constant opportunity to better understand French culture. Throughout the semester, I’ve had moments when I’ve wanted nothing more than to return home and pet my dog while at other times I couldn’t imagine leaving.
Some of the times I enjoyed the most were the ones when I felt like I was simply going about my life without a sense of being in a foreign country. Many times I had a constant underlying sense of being out of place, especially during the first month, but with time this feeling faded, and occasionally completely disappeared. As I settled into a daily or, more accurately, weekly routine, Angers was simply the city in which I was living rather than some place across the Atlantic from home.
After a month of being abroad, I described my general experience as an influx of emotions. I find it futile to search for a better way of expressing it. While abroad, I feel my emotions have been heightened and more variable. Some of this came from simple things like receiving good news and wanting to share it with my friends or family, before realizing that it was the middle of the night for them, and I would have to wait five or six hours for them to wake up. Thus, joyous moments could be replaced with a sense of disappointment and a longing for the distance to dissipate. On the other hand, as I would become agitated from stumbling over my words constantly, I would relax upon remembering that soon enough I would return to the US and be able to speak freely.
As I listen to church bells ring outside marking the end of the hour and the beginning of the next, I’ve realized it’s time to stop rambling on and to accept the end of this experience. It’s been an influential experience.
Au Revoir, France !