Voilà! As promised, here is the English translation of my last post, which was written as I flew back from Aix last Thursday.

During my whole trip to France, I thought that Chirstmas and my return the the United States were far away in the future. But now that the two have happened, I don’t know what to think. At the same time, I’m glad to come home, but sad to leave. Margeaux said that the word is doux-amer or bittersweet. It’s true, she is right as always. Society tells us that you have to have a specific feeling, but I have many!

Relieved that finals are done. Overjoyed to see my family. Sad that I’m leaving my new friends. I’m nostalgique for IAU moments with all the students. I regret that I didn’t take advantage as much as possible at the beginning of the semester. I’m proud of the work that I did in school. And tired from travelling all day.

Since September, when I got on the plane to go to France, I’ve travelled a lot. I have been in a lot of planes. So now, it seems the same. But it’s not the same. After this trip, I’ll stay put for a while and it’s a place that I know very well.

How to describe how I’ve changed ? It’s almost impossible but I’ll try. 
I believe that, without a doubt, I have a better understanding of the French language. Speaking it, writing it, Reading it, everything. But outside of the scholarly rewards, I have a better sense of myself. Since the summer, I’ve discovered what it is that I need to live autonomously and this experience has taught me even more.

Aix will always be a city where I lived, where I went to school, where I did things that I’ll never do again. It’s a part of me and my history. It was bittersweet to leave because I’m leaving this place where I received and left parts of my spirit. But it’s necessary. If I never left, I’d never grow. There is a quote that says this better, but I can’t think of it now.

So, au revoir Aix. And I mean "until I see you again" because I will return! And I will see you again one day. I know it.

Also as promised, here are a few more reflexions on my time in Aix.

Five Things I’ll Miss From Aix-en-Provence:
1) Being able to use French phrases in everyday conversation. My top three phrases: ça va, ce n’est pas mon truc; ouais.
2) The aroma all over town of baguettes and countless other pastries baking throughout the day
3) Learning something new about my town almost every minute
4) My IAU family
5) The café lifestyle

Five Things I Learned From Studying Abroad in Aix:
1) Excellent French
2) Bring your own, American deodorant because the French stuff sucks
3) "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you" -Dale Carnegie 
4) Try to live and DO things each day, especially when you only have a certain number of days someplace
5) Things aren't "bad" or "good," just different
I'll leave you with a quote from Kerouac (who I've already quoted but, hey, the guy said some good stuff):
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” –Jack Kerouac

Even though I'm back in America (having been both home in New York and at school in Denver), I've had to travel and pack up my ever-moving life. I've been a lot of places - even just during my study abroad! - but I've been fortunate enough to have truly lived in Aix, and that will never change. I have many more places to go, things to see, and people to meet, but Aix will always be a part of me, and for that I am grateful.

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