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Journals from AUCP, Aix-en-Provence

2014-01-03 I guess it’s time to say goodbye.

I don’t even know where to begin to describe my feelings about returning home, so I think I will make a list: SO excited, SO happy I get to see my family soon, relief that finals are over, happiness that my suitcase doesn’t weigh too much, sadness because I have had to say goodbye to everyone, a strong desire to “sleep through my alarm” and miss my plane, and I am terrified.

Even though my brain is experiencing Post-Finals Comatose Symptoms, I have come to a conclusion: I think France is magical. Maybe the “magical-ness” lies in the experience of studying abroad, but I have found I am not stressed like I used to be in America. I sit down, enjoy the friendships and relationships I have made, cherish each moment, and I also find that I don’t have to routinely tell myself, “it’s going to be okay!” all the time. Why? Because everything is alright. There are ups and downs/highs and lows as there are in life in general, but it all seems more manageable now. The people here are happy (very expressional, but very happy, too), time moves at a slower pace, relationships are very important, and the beauty of Aix is breathtaking. I think I am terrified to return to the fast-pace, high-stress, GMO-and-preservative-filled-food ways of American life. I’m afraid of being different and not being accepted. But, this is where I say: “it is going to be okay!” I lived in another country for four months. I am in the process of learning a second language. I have made amazing new friends, grown accustomed to a new culture, and my eyes have been opened to the world! I will always call Oregon my home (because my family is there), but Oregon doesn’t have to be my “forever”. That sounds so cheesy, and I know it does, but I never really had the courage to leave Oregon before France. Honestly. I almost didn’t go! But I did. And it was amazing. For those of you interested in studying abroad: do it. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

I wish you luck,

Abigail Meckem

 

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