life update - the fall season
With about a month since my last post, I realized it is most definitely time for a big life update.
I want to be honest - the last few weeks have gone by so much quicker than I thought they would have. In this post, I'm going to give a big recap of my last month as I lead up to my third month anniversary in France!
Sooo, flashing alllll the way back to the end of October, my region of France started the first school vacation of the school year. This vacation is called Toussaint (literally: "All Saints", for celebrating all of the saints in the religious aspect of the French culture), and it was just two weeks long, but I had an incredible time.
Itching to travel a bit further from home after feeling more comfortable in this city, I decided to visit a new friend, Emily, who is living in Angers, France for this year, about two hours north of me in Bordeaux. I actually had not met Emily before this trip, so there were a lot of new factors, but from the minute she met me at the train station when I arrived, I could tell we were going to get along so well. Besides looking a bit similar physically, our hearts and minds ride the same wavelengths a lot of the time, so it was such a blast to explore a new, beautiful city
of France with an amazing new friend!
I had the best three days; it was so nice to travel for the first time by myself to a new area, meeting a new friend, and it went smoothly and was very, very fun. This little break from the first two months of my daily life in Bordeaux was just yet another reminder that my world has grown immensely since I have started this journey, and I am able to tackle so much more with each experience under my belt. In Angers, Emily and I explored the local château, delicious restaurants, breathtaking museums, and even went ice skating! It was an action-packed vacation, but it never felt too quick or overwhelming - it was just perfect. I'm so thankful I met Emily; I know that she and I will stay close throughout this adventure of ours, and hopefully, in the future as well.
Once I returned from Angers, I had a few days of rest before my host family and I departed for our newest voyage... Paris!! As some of you have previously heard, Paris was absolutely a dream come true. From the moment I stepped out of the Métro, I was speechless. Immediately, I felt the solidification of the feeling that France is exactly the place I am meant to be. That's a really, really cool feeling to have at eighteen. Being in Paris in general, exploring, seeing different arrondissements, it felt as though I was walking through New York City, San Francisco, and Paris all at the same time. It was beautiful, bustling, hip, bright - all of the things I imagined it would be. I'll give a quick recap of some of the places and landmarks we saw:
We visited a few museums, to mention some: the Rodin Museum with an exhibit featuring sculpture and art by Pablo Picasso, the Louvre (but only the outside and the pyramid), the Panthéon, and the Atelier des Lumières, which is a museum with light-projected collections of art by, currently, Salvador Dali; a super cool way to experience art!
We saw the Tour Eiffel on our second day - absolutely breathtaking! We were even able to go up to the second level, and the view of Paris was just incredible. Seeing the Eiffel Tower was always a huge dream for me, like many others, I'm sure, so this day will live in my memories forever!!
I had the chance to see some other landmarks of Paris, like the Seine and Cathédrale Notre-Dame, which really just really solidified the realization that -- I'm here, in France!!
I feel so, so lucky and grateful to be living my dream and truths in France.
After returning to work after the vacation, it definitely took a week to get back into my "normal" routine. As I've mentioned in past posts, it is very new to me to be completely responsible for myself and having to be the sole person in charge of my schedule, discipline, etc. I enjoy it very much because I'm learning to be stronger and more independent, while at the same time, sometimes I miss when I was just ten years old and Mom and Dad still drove me everywhere and made my dinner.
In general, life is going very well. I have made lots of friends, who I enjoy seeing on a regular basis, my French improves more and more with each day, and I have the chance to explore Bordeaux and other cities near here often, which helps continue to grow my passion for exploring and traveling.
As the winter season approaches, I know that I will be very tempted to live in my typical nostalgic state, missing my family, friends, and all of the past traditions we had carried on for years. But, my goal for myself, while still being able to love and cherish those memories, is to create new ones and take on new opportunities with friends and people who mean a lot to me here. I want to come out of this experience having lived to my fullest.
Currently sending all of my love and appreciation to all of you who continue to follow my adventures and stories, even when it is three weeks late or three o'clock in the morning (for you USA folks). I am so grateful for your support, and writing this blog truly fills my soul.