My sister and I in front of the Louvre!
After leaving Aix-en-Provence, I spent a week in Paris with my family. Although they were jet lagged and sick, we managed to see some of the big sites: the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Saint-Chapelle, and the Eiffel Tower of course. In addition, we went on a bakery tour at the oldest boulangerie in Paris where the owner showed us how to make baguettes, croissants, and pain au chocolat.  After stuffing my face with these treats all semester, it was fascinating to see how they're actually made fresh every day.  It was the first time my parents had ever been to Europe and also the first time they had heard me speak French, so I loved being able to share with with them.  For four months, I had been telling them about the French culture, the food, and the differences. Finally, they could see this for themselves. 

On the 30th, I said a sad farewell to the country that had become my home. I had to fly home by myself since I'd already booked a round-trip ticket over the summer, but I managed to sleep for the majority of my two flights - first to London and to Boston. My family landed at Logan Airport before I did and as soon as I got through baggage claim and customs, my sister was waiting for me with a Dunkin Donuts Dunkachino.  It wasn't prepared by my favorite baristas from Aix, but I had to admit that it tasted wonderful.

"Thanksgiving" dinner at home
There are so many words to describe what it's like being back home: strange and sad, but also comforting and wonderful.  More than anything, it's bittersweet. I love sleeping in my big, comfortable bed and using my American shower again. I love being able to go to the gym and visit my old high school. I love talking to friends from BC and counting down the days until we are finally reunited. My mom even cooked me a proper Thanksgiving dinner to make up for the one that I had missed. At the same time, however, I miss so much about France.  I miss the sunshine - the snow is beautiful here, but it's freezing! I miss my host family and our nightly conversations at dinner. I miss the cafes and the slow, relaxed pace of my life in Aix.  I miss living stress-free and having free time.  I love the atmosphere and the "art de vivre" of the French - this is, perhaps, the thing that I'll miss the most. 

This week, I'll be going to some French classes at my high school and telling them about my experience abroad. In just two weeks, I'll be back at school in Boston. I'll be moving into an 8-man suite and I'll be eating at a dining hall. I'll only be taking one French class this semester and I'll be surrounded by people speaking English. I'm excited to get back into my BC routine, but I hope that I can return to France someday soon. After living with a French family and living like an Aixoise for a semester, I don't think I can simply stay in my little hometown forever - now more than ever, I want to go out and see the world. 

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