It’s funny how ten weeks ago, this quarter appeared to be a thrilling, life-changing, and practically impossible task. But here I am, looking at my meticulously arranged suitcase and running my fingers over a one-way train ticket to Paris. This experience has indeed been challenging, exciting, and life changing and, somehow, it’s almost time to board a plane back to Ohio. I’ve been spending the last week or two trying to absorb as much of France as I can, but it has been about as effective as holding water in cupped hands.
I suppose that time really decided to start racing after our last excursion as a group. First we went to a huge open-air market and I splurged on a navy tunic that I thought would allow me to blend in (more so than my Velcro-magnet tights) with the citizens of Provence. After that, I was miraculously able to navigate my way to the group meeting spot despite my infantile sense of direction and we headed out on a canoeing trip. Although none of us boasted expert canoeing skills, we all had a great time. My canoe somehow only got stuck on the shore three times and we all made it to the Pont du Gard, an immense, ancient Roman aqueduct. After some swimming, our exhausted and sunburned group returned to Avignon just in time for dinner with our host families.
After the excursion, we faced our final exams. It was so odd to say our au revoirs to our French professors, knowing that we’d be unlikely to run into them outside of Gordy Hall come fall quarter.
I spent the time freed up by the end of classes making sure I hadn’t forgotten anyone on my souvenir list and seeking out my last tastes of the favorite foods I’d discovered over the quarter. I think I was sorriest to say goodbye to the hair-curlingly strong French coffee and the surprisingly delicious tasting lavender ice cream.
Along with revisiting favorite foods, my friends and I did one last tour of our favorite Avignon places. We took the free ferry to the grassy Island in the Rhone, walked to the Palais des Papes, and visited the café tucked into the garden at its top.
But now the proper goodbyes have been said and tomorrow morning Guy, my host dad, will take me to the train station and the train will take me to Paris and Paris holds the plane that will take me home. This has been a truly incredible experience but it’s not at all over yet. I still have 2 days of adventure in the city of lights.