Three and a half months. Countless bonjours, mercis, and au revoirs. Six midterms and six finals. Four countries and a dozen cities. Over one thousand pictures. Many, many bisous. Over fifty sandwiches, pain au chocolat, trips to Lavarenne and Pizza Capri. Daily coffees and chai lattes. Four trips to Paris. More euros than I’d like to count. Many new friends and countless memories. After all of this, I’m heading back home to Massachusetts.

I’ve never felt this torn about leaving a place before. I loved my high school, but I was ready when it came time for graduation. I love BC, but I was ready for a change when it was time to come to Aix. I’ve been homesick during my time here and I’ve never stopped missing my family and my friends, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave France.  I guess one way to look at it is through the lists that I’ve been making.

At the Rotonde with Mom!
Things that I’m Excited For:

  1. My family (currently in France with me for Christmas!)
  2. My BC family (7 months without my best friends has been a challenge)
  3. American showers
  4. Dunkin Donuts
  5. My own bed
  6. Wheat bread, Chobani, having eggs for breakfast
  7. BC Hockey games
  8. Not having to walk over a mile to class
  9. Pandora radio working again
  10. Having an iPhone 5 instead of an ancient Nokia 

Things I’ll Miss:

  1. My new IAU family 
  2. My host family (the saddest goodbye was to my host mom…immediate tears)
  3. Sitting around the dinner table and chatting in French
  4. Crème de marron (delicious chestnut spread), Nutella crepes, and Bueno bars 
  5. French food in general
  6. Beautiful Provençal weather
  7. Sitting for hours at cafes 
  8. Weekly markets
  9. Traveling on weekends 
  10. Never rushing anywhere

Ma famille
I could probably add things to each list if I kept thinking about it, but frankly I’m trying not to think about it.  The people I have met here are amazing – not only everyone at IAU but also the Aixois that I came to know. The atmosphere is old and homey and stunning.  The whole state of mind seems to be different here, really. It’s laid back and people are happy.  Although strangers won’t often smile at you and you’re likely to get lost and step in dog poop, there’s so much more to Aix than that. This semester has been life-changing and indescribable in so many ways. I don’t know when or how, but I do know that I will be coming back.

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