I’m not gonna lie, I have no idea where to start with this post. How do I even begin to put my feelings about my incredible seven months overseas into words, and NOT tear up sitting here in a crappy hostel lobby in Paris? (And it is crappy. Worst hostel I’ve ever been in. If I was staying more than one night I would have found somewhere else.)
In a way, I can’t believe my time in France is already over, and in other ways, I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been home… slept in my own bed… hugged my family… walked barefoot out to the barn to see our cats 🙂 Needless to say I can’t wait to do all those things and more, all the small and big things I’ve missed since being overseas, but I’m definitely going to miss Europe as well. I have a couple blog posts started with lists of things I liked about Europe and wish the US would adopt, and things I DIDN’T like that I’m glad the US doesn’t do.
I think what I’m going to miss most about being over here are the different cultures that confront me daily. For example, right now I’m in a hostel staying in a room with three other people of three different nationalities from three different continents. It really hit me that the varied culture is what I would miss a couple of weeks ago when I was in a small town called Podebrady outside of Prague with an old friend from International House at ISU. We were all sitting in a circle, probably 15 of us, and if I had to guess there were probably at least six nationalities represented with double the amount of languages spoken. We started playing a game where we chose a common phrase (“Hello” or “Thank you”) and went around the circle saying it in as many different languages as we could. There were several times that made it around the circle more than once, which was amazing to me.
But despite everything that I’m going to miss, I am absolutely ECSTATIC to be coming home. Why wouldn’t I be, with all the amazing things waiting for me? I’m really excited for the future and to start this new chapter of my life: big-girl job (is it still that if I use the phrase “big-girl”?), getting my own place to live, spending time consistently with my friends and family in the QCA for the first time since 2009… all good things!
But before I can get to all those good things, I need to make it through the next 31-ish hours. I have to sleep then get ready at the hostel, walk to the metro with one rolling bag, take the metro to Gare de Lyon to get my other rolling bag out of a locker, somehow manage two rolling suitcases and a shoulder bag on the metro (many stairs) to catch the RER train to the airport, check in and check my bag (hopefully it’s not over weight…), fly to Zurich, fly to Chicago, collect my bag and go through customs, check my bag again, then fly to Moline… thinking about what my day is going to be like tomorrow makes me want to cry, and not because I’m sad to be leaving… it’s just going to be a really long, tiring, stressful day. I just need to focus on the end goal: by tomorrow night, I’ll be HOME!
So if you have a spare moment, I’d appreciate a little prayer for safe travels, for mental and physical strength, and for everything to go smoothly. Now if you’d excuse me, I believe I’m going to go to bed soon 🙂