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Archive for the ‘packing’ Category

My study abroad has come to a close, and I leave for home tomorrow. My life for the past 4.5 months is now packed into 2 suitcases, a carry-on and a purse, ready for the long journey home.

I don’t even know how to describe the past 10 days – they have been a whirlwind of finishing papers, visiting friends, last group get-togethers, and last-minute shopping. My roommate, Elizabeth, left for home on Wednesday and it was hard to say goodbye to her. Her leaving left an emptiness in my room but I still felt like I had a month or more left here, rather than just a couple days. Going home was not reality yet. That has slowly sunk in today, after bringing my other roommates Brynn and Ashley to the airport this morning. I’m the only one left here in the house, and this house is so empty without them! I miss them already and I realize now how close I’ve become to them and other people in our group. We have a very close group, and I’m going to miss everyone a lot. Now that they’ve left, I’ve had an easier time coming to terms with leaving tomorrow.

It’s time for me to go back where I came from and to end this adventurous year abroad. I have learned so much more than I can put into words this year, and I am so grateful for my experiences in France and India. I can’t believe 9 months has flown by so quickly, as cliché as that sounds. Study abroad has been some of the most challenging, exhilarating, frustrating, unforgettable and wonderful experiences of my life. I’m not ready to leave yet since I know I won’t have these experiences again any time soon, probably never. One of the hardest things to deal with leaving here is not knowing when, if ever, I will be back. At least I know I will always have a home here in Kolkata with Arundhati, Sujoy, and Vinayak :)

There are so many things I’m going to miss about India: my host family, my great study abroad group, my Indian friends, the food, the chaos, never knowing what’s going to happen each day, the crazy traffic, the randomness, the contradictions, the challenge, Bollywood, mehndi, eating with my hands, crammed metro rides, the street life, kurtas and jasmine pants, Madhu and Munu, our group excursions, auto rides, and so. much. more. I know I’m going to go through a lot of reverse culture shock when I get home that I’m not really ready for…but oh well. Aal izz well :) I have so many things to look forward to about being home, so I should not focus on so many “last”s here but more “first”s at home.

Every sunset in India is a sunrise in the United States…

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Well…I am finally home. Sitting here on my couch wrapped up in a tie blanket with sweatpants and a sweatshirt on, dog curled up at my feet. It’s good to be home.

It still hasn’t really hit me that I’ve left Cannes. Yes, I understand that I’m not there anymore…but it’s harder to realize that I’m not going to be back there anytime soon. I choose to not face the reality that it will probably be many many years before I’m back in France.

On a beach on the 9th of December!

The last week in Cannes was full of “last”s. The whole thing was very bittersweet and hard to swallow. Last grammar class, last time at the beach, last sunset, last time at Stations, last pause, last meal in the salle a manger, last everything. I didn’t do a lot my last weekend – did some “goodbye France” shopping on my last Saturday, where I spent over an hour in Fnac (kind of like Best Buy) picking out books and CDs, since it’s very hard to find anything in French in the US. I bought 6 books and 4 CDs – should keep me occupied for a little while. I wandered through the Christmas market – which was very surreal, having palm trees decorated with Christmas lights and fake snow.

Me and my roommate, Julie

The last week was “finals.” I say finals in quotations because everything was way easier than finals at CSB/SJU. No stress…it’s okay with me. We had a short test and scene analysis for Cinema, which we had done the week before and it was pretty easy. Tuesday was the final class and exam for Societe Francaise – 5 general questions and a final essay of comparing the average American life to the average French life. I wish finals were like this at home. I also had to write a final paper for Beth’s French Revolution class, talking about the significance of the French Revolution today. That was probably the most academic paper I have written the whole semester, but it wasn’t too bad. I also had my final day of tutoring, where Eva and I finished up Oliver Twist. Now I can kind of say I have read that book. I’ll miss tutoring and seeing the family, they were so good to me! We exchanged emails though, so I’m sure we’ll keep in touch – I’ll have to write them to keep up on my French now that I’ve left France!

Eva, Me, and Sarah

Both evenings of the play went really well! We had minimal mistakes (a couple forgotten lines, word fumbles), but nothing we couldn’t manage. The audience really seemed to like it, and we had tons of fun being on stage and having all our hard work and hours of practice pay off!

Friday night, the second night of the play, was my final night in Cannes. I had to pack up everything and finished packing after the play – and began my all-nighter before my long journey home. My flight was at 6:40 in the morning on Saturday, from Nice, and I could only take public transport to get there so my only option was to take a 2:30am bus…which meant an all-nighter for me. Hung out with everybody until it was time to go – said goodbyes that still don’t feel like they actually happened – and was on my way to Nice.

My flights were fine, from Nice to Amsterdam and then onward to Minneapolis…where there was an ongoing blizzard! Of course there had to be a blizzard the same day I was coming home after 3.5 months abroad. We were in holding for a while, waiting to see if MSP would be able to clear off the runway for us to land, but we had to reroute to Detroit. Well, at least I was in the states…just not the right one. I had to wait in the longest line I’ve ever seen for about 4 hours to be rebooked…and spent about a half hour at the desk once I actually reached it. I was one of the lucky ones – fortunately, my final destination wasn’t Minneapolis so I knew I had a small chance of still getting home that night. Luckily, they had a direct flight to Duluth leaving at 7:30 – and I got a seat!! I made it home at about 8:40pm – and was welcomed by below zero weather. Oh yea, I’m home.

The past couple days at home have been great – still adjusting to the time difference and a new schedule. Only a little reverse culture shock so far – mostly that there is so much SPACE here! You can see the whole sky, the buildings are so low to the ground, sweatpants exist, people wear tennis shoes and snow boots, and the cars are huge! I helped put up the Christmas decorations and have been enjoying mom’s food! I still have to unpack…and I can’t believe that 13 days from today…I’ll be in India! Too weird. For now, I’m just going to enjoy being at home.

Tout homme a deux pays - la France et le sien. VIVE LA FRANCE!

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I can’t believe it’s already here. The Big Day.

Tomorrow.

The last few days have been busy – trying not to forget something important, saying goodbyes, and packing like a maniac! So far I’ve managed to stuff everything into my 55L backpack and carry on – but it’s still a tight squeeze. Have I always had this much stuff??

It’s still not real yet. And reality probably won’t sink in until I land in France, settle in, and slowly realize “oh yea, I’ll be here for 4 months…” I’ve been preparing for study abroad for so long that it’s a bizarre feeling to finish preparing, and just be ready to leave….

J’ai hâte, mais aussi, je suis un peu nerveuse. Je serai en FRANCE – et je dois parler en français. Je ne suis pas prête pour parler en français tous le temps…mais je n’ai pas de choix ! Et pour cette raison, je suis confiante que j’apprendrai rapidement. Mais alors, je suis prête pour mon voyage ! Ce sera une grande aventure de ma vie…

Click here to check out my first story for The Lost Girls! :)

Am I nervous?

A little.

Excited?

Incredibly.

Ready for this crazy journey to begin?

Absolutely.

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