I’m not even sure how to start this entry. I cannot put into words what all I have learned, experienced, friendships, and life that my study abroad experience has given me. Not only have I grown up a ton, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about the world, about myself, and I fulfilled a dream of mine.
I am sure people are going to ask me how my experience was. It is hard to explain because it’s been my life here. I wasn’t just on vacation for a couple of weeks and took lots of pictures, but I had to survive and make friends in a completely foreign country. I built a life here, and it is sad to just say “au revoir” to it and hope maybe one day I might revisit it. It’s bittersweet. I’ve made really good friends here and to not know when I will see them again is sad/scary/weird all in one. We have such close and good relationships here that to go home seems to be giving up on them and that makes me feel sad. I know that that isn’t the way to look at it because that is all part of the experience, but I cannot imagine a day not texting Lelani and going to her flat for coffee, or eating dinner with my Chinese friends and, heck, I might even miss the creepers who have somewhat became my friends.
I have so many memories of my time here. France (in general) from buying what I thought was a stapler but was really a hole puncher, eating gross goat cheese, drinking too much wine, finding out croissants are terrible after their expiration date, dinner will take three hours, coffee is a part of daily life, to having to push the button for water on my shower every thirty seconds, to going to an optometrist to buy contact solution, taking the bus, seeing more cathedrals than I knew existed, spending an evening under the Eiffel Tower (twice!) visiting a HS friend who is also here, staying in a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” hotel in Bordeaux, getting lost too many times to count, picnics in the park, pushing myself to try different things, escargot, finding something to do on Sundays when everything is closed, trains, no ice, no air con, no Dr. Pepper, but one great experience!
Spain was such an adventure and I had one heck of a trip! Three girls from different backgrounds who like different things but who all travelled together to make for one fun trip. It was exciting! Too many inside jokes to count, seven hundred pictures, hours on the trains, ten days together, learning how to read a foreign map, gelato out the wazoo, seeing LOTS of fountains, and learning so much about eachother.
Classes and seeing the difference in the school systems, having coffee vending machines, two minutes from my dorm, no textbooks, and all of it was in French! I think I might actually be excited to sit in a lecture next semester where the prof talks the entire time and uses powerpoint!
As excited as I am to come home, there are definitely things I am going to miss: hearing Afrikaans, baguettes, 2 euro bottles of wine, REAL Chinese food, hearing French 24/7, reading Le Populaire (Limoges’ newspaper), seeing rugby, cheese, cheese and cheese, but most of all, I am going to miss all of my friends. Lucas, the Chinese who goes with the flow and takes nothing in life for granted. He works hard, is extremely polite, and can make friends and help out anyone. Plus, he cooks! Maryanne and Aude, the Chinese girls who are so sweet with a crazy sense of fashion that somehow always looks cute! They are always smiling and positive people. They even gave me some Chinese tea and a real Chinese coin purse that is so pretty! Klara, the Czech girl who has become my second best friend here and who I will miss a ton. She works hard but still has fun. She stresses too much, is focused to a T, and logical. She will make something of herself. When we came back from Spain I spent the train ride “learning” Czech from her dictionary, so for my parting gift she gave it to me and told me to learn it so I can speak Czech when I come to Prague!
And last, Lelani: my very best friend who I am not sure I would have made it through this semester without. She is this bubbly, crazy (in a good way!) wonderful housewife who is always “quickly” doing something, “quickly” making some coffee or tea, makes dinner and treats just because she wants to. She cleans and freaks out even when her house is a “mess” which is still as clean as a museum. She’s been so kind to me in too many ways to count, and I am going to miss her tremendously. Her and Tros have such a cute marriage and I know they are going to be awesome parents and have a fun life. They are genuinely good people. She was the first girl I’ve ever seen to wash a car in high heels, just smile her way into things, and to blurt Afrikaans when she gets angry! Oh, and she always, ALWAYS has her fingernails painted, hair and make-up done, and looks fabulous. She’s a great friend and I am lucky to have met her. Although, on my last day/night in Limoges, I’ve worked like a dog (not really!) helping her pack, going grocery shopping, and giving her a hard time about her packing skills. Oh well, she bought me a Dr. Pepper Zero out of it. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend it. What’s my payback? Waking her up at 5:00am to take me to the airport. J
All in all, I’ve had quite the experience here. While I am not fluent as I had hoped, my French has improved 200% and I know now so much more about the language and my speaking skills. I am more confident if I had to go into a room of French people or even if I had to go to a foreign country by myself. I could survive and I feel pretty darn proud of myself for that. I’ve spent six months living out a dream of mine, seeing places in the world, adapting to a different culture, learning about others and doing it all by myself. Naturally, I couldn’t have done this without support from my family and from my advisors, and I am so, so, so lucky to have had this opportunity. I’ve missed my mommy so much and I cannot wait to see her tomorrow when I step off of the airplane. Thankfully, Skype has been a best friend and Yahoo Mail has never seen so many log-ins from me. Thank you, technology for making this easier to be away from my family and friends. I am quite disappointed though that I’ve spent 100+ days here, and only have, like, 40 blog posts. I was so good and then I got lazy. I guess it just became “life” to me and normal that it seemed silly to update it. Oh well, too late now to change it!
Well, it’s my last night here and I doubt I’ll be able to sleep tonight because I am so excited to go home and because I want to sleep on the plane! I plan to take two melatonin after lunch so I will be ready to pass out! Don’t worry, I’ve packed my headache medicine and melatonin this time so I should be set if a wonderful Teryn disaster occurs like normal! My flight is at 6:50 am and I will be home around 10-11:00 pm Monday night. I think with my flights I will be living the same day twice: once in France and once in the US! How about that for having your cake and eating it, too?! I’ve left you enough stuff for now and I don’t want to write more to make me sad. I feel that I will get on the plane and realize that I’m leaving all this and just cry my whole way home. Or it will happen a week from now. We shall see!
Please pray for a safe flight for me. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures and that you have enjoyed reading my blog. I’ll keep you all updated on my test results when I get them! Hopefully I will be seeing some of you really soon! Thanks again for all of the support!