When I was fifteen I lived in France for a year. I was excited and ready to go if even a little too young and impetuous. It was the best year of my life (so far) and in a nutshell utterly wonderful. Fast forward five years, 40 pounds, and more than one case of champagne and you will find me here, on my bed, writing my blog.
I'm going back to France and I'm absolutely terrified, but at the same time overjoyed. It's the culmination of my college career. The only reason I ever decided to come to Boston/Northeastern (Northeastern possesses an amazing BSIB program that allows one to stay abroad for a potential 2 years; something at 18, I highly valued). It's not that I'm afraid of leaving Boston. . .well . . . maybe I am. Boston is the place I've made home for the past three years and have spent minimal time away from since my arrival freshman year. It's where I can easily access the treasures of the city by train or bus. It's the place that has beautiful springs and gorgeous falls and I am going to miss it.
But then I think of France and the gorgeous way of life that is there. The slowness and familiarity of French life dresses me comfortably. I want to be there and more than that I want to want to be there like I wanted to be there five years ago. I know I have to go back and truly want to go back. Because there isn't a moment in the day when my inner monologue doesn't skip merrily between French and English or I don't see something that reminds me of my French friends. I need to go back because there are so many things that define me that are in France, and I need to find out if it's where I want to live and be for awhile. I love France. I love the streets, the cafe culture, and the way I evolve into a strangely confident person whilst gravely spouting vous, tu, et nous without a moment's hesitation. When I am there I am so much more sure of myself, my freedom, my entire being. I think that is why I cling so much to my year in France; it let me become what I always wanted to be and for a moment I wasn't absolutely terrified of who I was or what I was becoming. For a year , I was just me and that was o.k. no extra adjectives needed.
I've gone into this ridiculous indecisive post because I've been planning where I am going to live and fast forwarding in such a way is choking me with the reality of my departure. This time next year I will be working in a French company speaking French with the Joneses. I'm also planning flights with no return in mind (one way ticket, my friends) and it's frightening. I've never been one to gasp at reality, but at 20 things like this are much more real and the consequences seem greater. I'm sadly realizing I've lost some of my 15-year-old self in these past few years. Five years ago, I wouldn't have been scared. Five years ago, I wasn't scared of anything.