a nicely welcomed break
Hello travelers, and welcome back! I know it has been quite a bit since my last blog post (something that I say often), but just know that I have been accumulating so many new experiences, adventures, and contacts, that your wait has been for good reason!
I am delighted to be taking this time to write about the past few weeks and all of the lovely moments I've had, new ideas and thoughts I've pondered, and people I've met. The longer I spend my time in France, I realize that I knew so little about life and the world before I embarked on this year abroad. Meeting so many new people has helped me so much with seeing the world through new eyes, and it pushes me to want to do more, meet more people, learn more. As a teenager and high schooler, I used to follow such a rigid schedule in my life, due to having so many responsibilities and extracurriculars and school; there was no time to pass freely, I always had somewhere to be, whether a club meeting, musical rehearsal, or family event. That's not to say I didn't love all that I did during that time, but looking back, I feel that I always thinking about what was coming next and that I wasn't taking enough time to really sit in each moment and appreciate the memories I was making during each busy day. Over the past six months that I've been pursuing this internship, I've really tried to make a goal out of finding something each day to look forward to, and when I feel myself stressing out or just flying through the day, I try to stop - breathe - and then figure out how to pull myself back into that moment. All this being said, I feel very grateful for all of the busy, crazy moments that come about in my life as well as the calm, peaceful moments - this is what really makes a "real life".
These last two weeks in Bordeaux, I've been on "winter break", as the winter weather usually lasts until the end of February or maybe into the middle of March, but already we are receiving some beautiful, blue skies and higher temperatures! This time of the year always brings so many good memories, and the pretty weather always puts everyone in a good mood. I can't wait to see what this new season brings! In terms of "vacationing", I did take a five-day trip to Paris with some family friends - this family being that of my second French exchange student who lived with us for a month in the spring of 2019. We've kept in great contact with them over the years, and their son being the only in-person connection we had ever had to them, this was truly a super fun first time meeting, and in another sense, a blast from the past to see my old correspondent practically 3 years later. They were more than generous to invite me to vacation with them and show me around Paris - my second time there was nothing short of magical, just like the first time! I saw lots of new and exciting things: the Jardin de Luxembourg, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, and many other things. What was so special about this trip to Paris was that I actually had a couple of hours to kill on my own before meeting up with a friend, and so I actually "took on Paris" by myself! I took the Métro by myself, which turned out to be much less difficult than I had thought it would be. Paris started to feel a lot more comfortable to me by the last day, especially when we had walked through some areas where I had been during my last trip there. It really is a good exercise in realizing the challenges we face in life can seem scary or overwhelming at first, but after we continue to try and face those challenges and take risks, they quickly reveal themselves to be just another blip in the road, not truly as scary as we saw them at first glance.
It's no surprise to anyone that I have fallen completely in love with France. I feel entirely at home here, whether Bordeaux or Paris or the cities where I have not yet traveled, I know that a part of my heart will always rest in this beautiful country. As I have now also passed my six-month anniversary of living in France, I feel so lucky to be a recipient of this opportunity. Thank you to all of you for keeping tabs on my blog here - I truly enjoy sharing my experiences and guarding this as my little personal journal during this year of new adventures and life-changing lessons. I can't wait to share more as it comes along!