Friday, August 15, 2014

The Final Days

And so, before I knew it, six months abroad were over and it was time for me to pack up the life I had created in Europe and board my plane home. My last few days in Paris were quite bittersweet.

One of my favorite things to do during my free time in Paris was to sit in a small park across the Seine from Notre Dame. I spent many afternoons sitting on a bench reading or writing or people watching. Many times with a panini or a crepe in hand!

I miss looking up from my writing to this view!
At the start of the semester, the walls in my room were bear and boring. As the semester progressed, I would stick any business cards, maps, and tickets I gained from my adventures onto my wall.  It became a giant scrapbook of the semester. I also bought post cards on every trip and stuck them on the wall beside my bed, a sweet and easy reminder of my growing list of travels. It was a sad moment to take them all down but they will be fun to look back at to remember this adventure.

A couple of my close friends studied in Toulouse for the month of June and, as a part of their program, they spent the last weekend of June (and their program) in Paris. Totally lucky for me because that meant I got to see them on my last days in Paris!

The day before I left we went out and ate crepes for dinner and then spent the rest of the night hanging out on the Champ de Mars. We stayed until the Eiffel Tower sparkled no more. Another totally bittersweet moment. I couldn't believe that was the last time I would be gazing upon the Eiffel Tower for who knows how long.

So happy to be reunited! And in Paris!!
The next day marked my official last day in Paris. That evening I would be boarding a plane headed for the good ole USA. I finished packing up that morning and then went out to soak up my last bit of Paris. My friend, Mary, who had studied in Paris the year before, and I decided on paninis by the Seine. We discovered that we both had the same go-to panini place, although we had never discussed it before! How cool? We sat by the water, talking and laughing, and sharing our disbelief that we were finally in Paris together! We bonded over our love of Paris as freshmen and studied abroad there at separate times so it was a surreal moment to be in the city together!

After eating lunch, we made our way back to my dorm. I said my farewells to those who still had a few days left in Paris. Mary kindly helped me lug my suitcases onto the RER before saying our goodbyes a few stops away. I remained on the train until it arrived at CDG, luckily it was a direct train as there had been strikes for two weeks prior which would have forced me to transfer. Imagine what a nightmare that would've been with all of my luggage! But it was a straight shot, for which I am grateful. I looked out the window as the tunnels below Paris and then the suburbs surrounding Paris flew past me. I arrived at the airport and, after some stress due to overweight luggage, was through security and browsing the duty free shops to kill time before my flight departed.

And, just like that, it was all over. An unbelievable semester in so many ways. I am overjoyed to be home and reunited with my family, friends, and Dunkin' Donuts but I miss the life I had built in Paris. I know I'll be back one day, but for now I'll have to settle with looking back on pictures and planning the next adventure.

My parents met me at the airport with DD Iced Coffee in hand.. at 11pm. You know I drank it all ;)
Now that my European adventures have come to a close, I hope to continue this blog with American adventures so be sure to check back for more posts!

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