Didn’t you hate it back in high school when you started to become friends with someone right before summer break? That’s study abroad in a nutshell. The moment that you feel you’ve really become close to people, you have to leave.
I had a wonderful lunch with my Frenchie friend Mathilde at one of the coolest restaurants in town today, and I was painfully aware that it would possibly be our last meeting before my return to the States. As I ate my beyond-delicious galette, I kept wishing we could have become friends earlier. We’ve gotten really good at speaking half French/half English for hours on end without getting confused! I hate that I’ll be leaving just as I’m beginning to really connect with her and other Frenchies my age.
The same bittersweet thinking filled my evening as I played cards with Simon. That silly little boy has managed to beat me every darn time at cards; mainly because they’re all French games and he informs me of the rules as we go along…I think he’s changed more than a few to suit his own hand. But it’s still so much fun to play with him and watch him try to cheat. Later, the whole family went to Simon’s West Side Story performance, and I spent the whole time trying to stop laughing as Mathieu and Martine made fun of every poor little kid on that stage. You know you’re considered part of a family when they feel comfortable mocking ten-year-olds around you.
To be with my friends and family here brings so much joy, but I’m suddenly very aware that my days are numbered. I know this won’t be the last time I ever see them, but it’s still so disappointing to feel like I’ll be stopping this learning experience just as I was starting to really “get it”.
If I could do this whole thing all over again, I’d make only one change. I’d choose the year-long program.