Well, folks, the adventure has come to a close. I’ve been back home in California for one month. What an adventure it was.
There is so much to say that I almost don’t know what to say.
I guess I’ll begin by talking about some of my favorite things about Paris:
- Tuileries in the summer — the gardens are absolutely beautiful when the sun is shining. I miss summer in Paris in general. I liked the city the best when it was warm enough to wear a dress.
- Ladurée macarons — they’re the best I had in France and absolutely worth the hype
- Baguettes — they’re insanely cheap and insanely delicious
- Parisian style — French women really are as chic as they’re rumored to be
- The architecture — the beauty of the city is absolutely indisputable
- Boulangeries — the home of said baguettes, they have amazing and cheap sandwiches and desserts
- The Métro — even though no one really likes a sweaty rush hour on public transportation, the convenience and accessibility of the Métro was amazing for getting around
- Speaking French — the language is so beautiful. I miss being able to practice with locals every day.
- A good café crème — I still remember the best cup of coffee I had in Paris, and it was so good that I took a snapchat of my empty cup and, along with the caption, “FRENCH COFFEE, I LOVE YOU,” sent it to my sister.
- The Seine — standing on one of Paris’ bridges and gazing out across the river at the Eiffel Tower peeking out in the distance is truly a breathtaking view.
- Shakespeare & Company — I could get lost in that bookstore for hours. Actually, I did on several occasions.
- The Marais (and its falafel) — such a charming neighborhood with delicious, cheap street food. (My favorite falafel place was Chez Hanna.)
- Montmartre — equally as charming, and truly Parisian.
It still feels a bit surreal, that I actually packed up and moved myself to the other side of the world, completely on my own, to one of the most incredible cities in the world. I did that. Pretty unlike me, actually. Usually, I can barely even get myself to drive my car somewhere I’ve never been before.
But that just goes to show how much the experience grew me over the four months I was there. I’m so much braver, so much more sure of myself now. It feels like nothing can phase me anymore.
I’ve also learned a lot about who I am and what I want. I’ve learned that the people in my life mean so much more to me than the glamour of my surroundings. I’ve learned that I have been so blessed with the family and friends that I have, both at home and at school. I’ve learned that I don’t really want to be a travel journalist anymore. I’ve learned that living out of a suitcase, as exciting as it might be, eventually gets pretty lonely. I’ve learned the value of home. (Now, I truly understand the phrase, “Home is where the heart is.”) I’ve come to treasure my church family, because walking out your faith alone is pretty difficult.
I’ve learned what I want my life to be full of: love. Not necessarily passport stamps and world treasures, just people. Good people. The right people.
But now, I’m sitting at my desk in my sorority house at school, writing this after a night of watching The Bachelor and drinking pink lemonade with my best friend. Tomorrow, I’ll go to my French 5 class where I’ll be reminded of all the things I learned in Paris that my classmates just won’t be able to learn in the classroom. I’ll miss my old French teacher, Pierre, and my walk to the Métro and walking along the Seine at golden hour. But for now, I am content with being surrounded by the people who mean the most to me, who walk alongside me as I pursue Jesus, and who know me best.
So even though I’m always fighting off a craving for a pain au chocolat, life is still really good.
God is still really good.