Three weeks. Three weeks until my time in Paris will come to an end. The past five months I have spent in this city have changed me in more ways than I can count. Being on my own in a foreign country thousands of miles away from the comfort of my own home has been one wild ride, to say the least. There have been ups and downs and twists and turns, but I made it out just fine. I have been challenged and have been taken out of my comfort zone, but I have adjusted. I have had moments of frustration when I am not being understood or when I can’t explain myself in a language I am still learning how to comprehend and speak. I have been sad when when realizing how much I miss my family and friends because sometimes seeing someone’s face on a computer screen isn’t as good as seeing their face in person. I have been angry when I am stared at on the metro when all I am trying to do is go home. And I most definitely have been frustrated when learning about all of the cultural differences that exist here, but not in the states.
But, I have also had moments of happiness. More than moments actually. There have been days when I wake up to the sun peeking its way out of the clouds and have never been more thankful for choosing to study and live in this country. Sometimes the best days were when I walked around with no set destination. That was when I was able to see for myself the different parts of Paris and discover new places I never would have found on a map. I have also had the chance to visit other countries I only dreamed of visiting. I never understood the importance of traveling until now. Traveling absolutely changes you and makes you a more well-rounded person who is aware of the different cultures and people in this world. Staying in one place for so long only makes you see one outlook, one point of view. Until you travel to another country and live how the locals live will you see that it’s okay to be open.
As much as I was excited to embark on this new journey, deep down I was also incredibly scared. I had my doubts and fears of how I would be able to adjust without being around those who knew me best. But, with the support of those back home and with a lot of prayer and reflection, I was able to push those feelings aside. My friend Rudy faithfully sends out daily inspirational quotes, which have gotten me through tough times. A few days ago, I opened her email with the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that said: “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Since coming to Paris, I have tried to follow that advice. Sometimes the things that scare us the most are worth doing because they make us realize how strong we are. I really am proud of myself for making it through this experience, bad times and all.
More than anything, I am thankful to have found friends who have accepted me and who have taught me on the days of anger and frustration the importance of making the most of my time here. I will truly miss the times we spent together, exploring the city, laughing about the funny things French people do, and just getting to know each other. Thank you for making these past five months some of the best five months of my life! You all know who you are if you’re reading this 🙂
Who knows when I will be back in Paris. Only time will tell. Until then, I will make the most of the three weeks I have left.