So my time in Paris is almost at an end. I will be back in England on May 4th. I write this now because my internet should be cut off tomorrow ready for my departure, and so I may not have chance to update the blog until I’m on the other side of the water.
I don’t know what to say now! I guess there’s too much to say. Paris itself has meant so much to me. It’s an experience I will never regret or forget. It has been awfully hard, and I think the trials of moving to a new country have changed me and made me more strong than I ever expected to be. It wasn’t always enjoyable and yet I would recommend it to ANYONE, because of how much it tests you, and puts things into perspective, and makes you realise how capable you really are. This was the real world. When I started at university in 2006 I was completely underwhelemed. I had been so excited to enter an adult world that uni just wasn’t. Yes it was fun, but not what I was expecting and not what I really wanted/ needed. Looking back on my year abroad I think I’ve finally found that new adventure I was looking for. It had pushed my boundaries so that now, my life ahead of me has never looked so magical.
What have I got from this year abroad? Shall I do a list?! Why not :p
- A life long love of langauges. Though I haven’t actually improved tremendously, for some reason my DESIRE to learn new languages has quadrupled. Because I wasn’t improving my french as much as I wanted, I was forced to research alternative ways of doing this, and now have so many websites, books, ideas etc for how to continue improving once I’m home. I even desperately want to learn dutch now too; again like french, just for the love of it.
- Communicating and dealing with people, expecially services. To put it plainly, after dealing with horrendous french customer services, when I barely speak the language, I will never again fret over doing it all in English. On a more subtle level I think my patience has improved, and knowing how to deal with different types of people.
- Technology. Interestingly in this odd day and age, my experience has not just been of being in a new country; but also of being away from my own country.. which with the age of the internet has actually been a thorough testing and expanding of my use of technology. I’ve always loved it, but this year I have depended on it. Any news, info, music, films, correspondance.. it has almost solely relied upon my laptop and internet connection. Yes I had french tv and ads and newspapers, but for when I wanted content from my own country (which let’s face it was ALL THE TIME) then internet it was. My use of blogs, news sites, social media, skype, email has increased immeasurably. And my INTEREST in all this, good lord has skyrocketed, to the extent that I’m pretty keen to involve it somewhere in my career now. And yes, maybe I have spent more time on the internet and less time soaking up this country.. and thus have lost out somewhat on what I could’ve learnt here. But what I have learnt about social media and the way that it is affecting me, and the whole world, I believe was worth what I sacrificed.
- My understanding of the world. Both in terms of living here and of learning about technology. I have always believed that to travel and discover new people and cultures is one of the most sucessful ways to learn and to grow. This year has completely reconfirmed that view. I have met some incredibly interesting people from different walks of life, and certainly with different opinions. Coincide that with all that has gone on in the world this year, with Obama’s election and the financial crisis, and I feel like everything I have learnt and studied during my childhood is finally finding some application. I’m starting to really understand the abilitites and the realities of society, and especially what my place within it may be. I am so grateful to be growing like I am and also so very excited.
- The word Home. Now my views on this have somewhat waivered during the course of the year, but what an incredible thing to be given, a refreshed view on that place where you’ve spent your first 2o years. I know I am very lucky to have had that as many people don’t. Probably if I hadn’t been away I would not be able to appreciate what an incredible and irreplaceable thing is that place that you call home. Where your biggest growing was done, where your family are, where your very true friends are. I will always need to explore and to get away and to travel, but home will always be home and it is truly my soul visualied and put on a map.
- The boy. Now I know getting too personal OR too romantic on this blog isn’t something I really care for.. but this has to be said because it’s a big one. We agreed to stay together during this year abroad healthily accepting that if it didn’t work then it didn’t work and that we were sensible enough to accept that. The point is, it did work, and fantastically. It has been wonderful to have someone to share even the most insignifant moments with, as well as someone to make me keep going when I almost couldn’t stand it any longer. He has been my rock and I am beyond excited for the year ahead with him, and I am just very very thankful.
- Paris. Because it will be with me forever. It truly is as magical as people believe. I would love (and really hope) to have apartment here when I’m older, to let my children feel, even more, what I have felt a little being here. I often felt alone being in a new country, but wandering the streets of Paris, I would forget that. It is beautiful and spritual and I am so glad that I will always have it in my memory and hopefully in my future too.
- This Blog. Oh blog :p I guess this links with the technology thing, but it has been such a great experience to finally stretch my fingers and try writing for everyone to see. This goes for my tumblr too. If I’m honest, I don’t feel I’ve done nearly as much as I wanted to with this blog, mainly due to time constraints and stress! But I have definately made sure to record everything I have done, which was my primary aim, and I am glad I’ll always have all the memories written down! I guess the question now is where do I go from here? As I take steps into the social media world, I guess I would hope that my blog could become something alot more worthwhile than I feel it is now. Yes my experiences here in France were kind of interesting, but I know alot of it was annecdote. There are so many things I am interested in now that I would love to write more substantial posts on. So maybe I’ll start there for now. I’ll keep this blog going but from now on it will be about more general things, the things I am interested in. And we’ll see how it goes!
À Bientôt Paris! xx