18 June 2010

Closing Time

So. Here we are, months later. I leave to go back to the United States tomorrow and as sad as I am to leave France, I am just as excited [if not more] to be back. To speak English freely, with anyone I want. To get hugs and give them. That's one thing about France that is just not cool. I mean, in the US, everyone hugs everyone, it's nice, intimate, friendly...simply wonderful. What I don't get is that in France they talk to each other three inches from each other's face, they kiss everyone on the cheek and they make-out regardless of their audience or stage. But they can't hug. French people are so weird.

Last night I got to hang out with my friend Marius one last time before my flight. Luckily, we both took advantage of being together one last time and made the most of my last night out in France.

Ingredients :

Couple bottles of 1664
1 bottle of white wine [fruity]
1 set of hockey gear [pads, socks, jersey, helmet, stick]
1 swimsuit from the 1910 era
1 Indian headdress
2 free spirits/awkward people
A great location
2 attitudes [style : "on s'en fout"]

I sported the hockey uniform, Marius in the swimsuit [over his clothes] and the headdress and we walked around his little ghetto suburb of Paris, St. Ouen, for a good while. We got silly looks, giggles and people who refused to look at us until they had passed, only to turn around and ogle at our outfits. Maybe it doesn't sound like much, but it was a lot of fun and I'm glad to have spent my last night out in France having a grand old time.

Tomorrow I leave early in the morning, travel for about 20 hours and arrive in the KC airport at night. There, I'll be picked up by one of the greatest people ever, we'll migrate to Lawrence and a little regrouping with some other great people will lead to a great first night back. I'm so excited, even though part of me isn't ready, and never will be ready, to leave France.

Good thing I'll be back. Pff, I still gotta teach these Frenchies a thing or two !

On another note, I got a pretty awesome call via Skype from three of my favorite people on Earth - Nick, Steve and LoBo. Not only was it wonderful to see their faces, but we talked about AIESEC for the majority of the time. I think I've decided I'm going to run for LCP, due to our current situation as AIESEC Kansas. Hum. As stressful as the position could be and probably will be if I'm selected, I think it'd be worth it. I love AIESEC so much.

Later for now, I'll catch you all across the lake.

"Tu dors?

Oui et je suis en plein dans un rêve, je te rappelle pendant la pub!"

-Gad Elmaleh [from the sketch "Papa est en Haut"]

08 June 2010

Final Chapter

Here I am, in Paris again, eleven more days stand between me and my return to the United States, to all of my old friends and customs. I can’t even begin to explain the rupture that stands to be my current emotional state. On one hand, I am anxious to go back; have a lot of new firsts, share stories and adventures from this past semester and actually connect with some awesome people back home. On the other side, however, I realize that this will be the last time for at least a year that I’ll be in France. It’s the last time I’ll hear French all around me, the last time I’ll have real bread on every street corner. I’ll no longer be an hour and a half away from my brother and best friend, Merry. I will no longer be immersed in the culture, language and country that I’ve grown so accustomed to. In that sense, I am terrified to leave.

As the days creep closer, each side’s emotions mount, creating an emotional rift that prevents any sort of mental stability. Yes, I miss everything back home, but how many times do you get to live in a foreign country ? The worst part for me is thinking of all of the wonderful friends I’ve made in Angers and thinking that some, I may never see again. My stomach drops every time I imagine the possibility – thank God for the modern world and technology, eh ?

On that note, I specifically want to mention a couple of kids that cross my mind – Franzi. From Germany, this girl is AMAZING. She’s funny and lovable and downright wonderful. I love her to death and seeing her run after the train, tears forming in the ducts killed me. Ich liebe dich ma belle preferée.

Next are Lauren and Kai, who I know I’ll see again. I want to mention them however, because they were also at the train station to see me off, running with Franzi along the train as it departed from the platform. These two kids are amazing and helped make my semester as great as it was. From cooking and staying over at Kai’s, to girl talks with Lauren, they made me feel at home and comfortable in a town I didn’t like at all because it wasn’t comparable to Paris.

Naturally, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my host family, especially the parents – Valerie and Philippe. Philippe was the best host father imaginable. Though strange to adapt to a real relationship with a figure like that at first, we quickly meshed well and connected through soccer games, go-karting and the midnight cup of coffee, as well as our slightly twisted sense of humor. I’ll for sure never forget him and how he finally proved that French people could achieve humour.

Valerie was no less than wonderful. Always sure to keep an extra dish on hand to be sure I’d have something to eat, never complaining that me being a vegetarian was a slight hassle. Making sweets together, sharing recipes and talking about anything at any time of the day. The morning came around and she was due to leave before I got up, but as I was unable to sleep, I was awake, sitting in the garage when she came in. Her words were short and simple, as they needed to be to avoid the inevitable tear flow that was soon to come for both of us. After many bisous and hugs and her telling me to come back whenever I wanted, she left. I also got a goodbye hug from Chelsea, the coolest kid from Houston I know – thanks for making my last two weeks a killer fun time.

Not to mention the Sunday trip to St. Malo with Clemence, Valerie, Chelsea, Jessi, Celine and Alain. Talk about awesome.

To all other friends I’ve made, I will miss you too, more than you know. I’m only singling out a few in this post to avoid stirring up emotions that I’ve finally managed to calm.

Arrival in Paris, Merry at the train station. An orange, a new tradition, waiting with a smile to help me lug my two suitcases [which were descended by two very helpful gentlemen] toward the metro and eventually toward the train and then Merry’s house. Dinner with the family as usual, fun conversations filled the evening with happy atmosphere and delicious food didn’t hamper the experience.

Now I’m back to chilling with my brother, showing off my grades for the semester and the silly story we wrote in langue class. He was no less than entertained, especially with the name choices ^^

By the way, Saturday I got hit on by three high school boys. It was funny.

Speaking of boys. Cowboys. They’re awesome. I guess flat-billed caps are too.

Now that I’ve left Angers, I feel like a chapter of my life is over. I know that may sound incredibly cheesy, but this past semester, now that it’s basically over, seems so surreal. I look back on everyone I met and everything I did and accomplished and it plays back like a movie that I’ve recently watched, another story I’ve read, put back on the bookshelf until my return, where I’m sure I’ll have to recount it over and over.

A week and a half in Paris, oh joyful beginning to summer. That’s my cue to quit the scene [speaking of scene…Superheroes anyone ?]

Time for my after-dinner coffee all, catch you on the flip side.

"I can't be like...foot naked."


“I adore the world out of you.”


[quotes from two of my favorite people]