(The End… already?)
I feel a little guilty recently because I gave my friends a hard time at the end of last semester. They were broken up about leaving, and I honestly couldn’t have been more eager to get home. However, I’m now being repaid for my failure to empathize: if I could have anything in the world right now, it would be the ability to lead two lives at the same time: one in the States, and one in France. I’m really happy to be going home, I’m excited about this summer, I’m excited about next year; and yet…
But this is also a time of reflection, so let’s look back over the year and touch on the highlights.
First, there was Orientation, wayyyy back in September. I didn’t have my camera, though, so I don’t have pictures. BUT I do have a picture of the view out my window, which is really the first thing I saw here.
Then there was the crew from the first semester:
We saw some castles:
We messed with the machines…:
Sometimes the kids even got all dressed up:
And we generally made mischief. Then all my friends went back to their own universities, and I came back to Nantes in January not really knowing who I’d hang out with or what I’d do. Luckily, God gave me some really excellent friendships, and I had just as amazing a time the second semester as the first. Although I didn’t spend as much time with other Americans –(except this girl right here
and a couple other year-long students)–
Katie and I visited Paris:
And anyway, I spent more time with my French friends that I met at Agape and English Club. This is them in their natural state (i.e. being extremely goofy):
We even went to the beach as a group once.
That’s the crew. I’ve been a lucky, lucky chica to have met all of them and to have been able to get to know and spend time with them. The friendships that I’ve made this year are certainly different than those I have back home or in Grinnell, but they’re certainly no less meaningful, deep, or (I hope) long-lasting. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, folks.
So my stay in France has been more magnificent than I could’ve hoped for: I can tell that my French has improved; I’ve made friendships with some truly amazing people; I’ve become more independent; and I’ve even seen God work in some pretty marvelous ways despite how faithless I can be sometimes. I’ve been blessed and honored to have the opportunity to spend this year abroad, and no matter how happy I’ll be to be home (and no matter how cheesy and ridiculous it sounds), part of me will always be here in Nantes.