It's been almost a week since I've been back in the States. I don't know if I can say that I'm feeling full-on reverse culture shock
just yet (though I have been taking a whole lot of naps), but I can say that I've been trying my best to remember what I learned in France. That is, I've been attempting to incorporate some of my French habits into my American life. I walked 30 minutes to my local library. I went to the farmer's market with my mother. Right now it's all a bunch of little shifts in mindset, and I wonder if that will be more apparent when I see more of my friends in a couple of weeks. I wonder if they'll get it.I've been getting pangs of nostalgia for Aix. I've had a couple of dreams where I was back there, back with all of my wonderful-beautiful-amazing friends who understood.
I am so incredibly grateful to have met the people I met at IAU, and it does actually sting when I think about how much farther everyone is from each other now. I'm lucky enough, however, to have also shared a lot of memories with people from my school, and I'm excited to see them once they come back from their extended European stays. There are many things I miss about my time in Aix already. I miss the daily markets. I miss being surrounded by old stones with stories to tell. I miss
the bread. I miss my bed. I miss my host family.
Me, my host mom, my host sister, and my host dog. Not pictured: my host cat.
But while it's all good and fine to miss certain things, I feel that it is extremely important to remember. And there is so much to remember. I will remember the uncertainty and excitement I felt during my first night in Aix. I will remember my initial confusion over how to take a shower. I will remember almost getting lost after too many pints at Manoir. I will remember that time we had a band. I will remember "Get Lucky" at Kiwa Sushi on my 21st birthday. I will remember the poil all over my leggings. I will remember the constant kindness of my host sister. I will remember how I felt when my host mom said, "Tu vas aller loin dans la vie."
I will remember because that is what this experience deserves. I will try my best to come back, but I know that what I had here, during that moment in time, will always be its own.
Now I guess it's time for a new adventure. Thank you, Aix. Thank you for teaching me so much about France, about the language, about people, and about myself. I won't forget you. Promise.