I journaled this a month ago today, on our last full day in Paris:
There was so much beauty in the ending, in our last vividly matte, gray, rainy day of Paris. There was no longer the stress of class weighing on the back of my mind; I could finally appreciate all the wrought iron terraces and intricate cement or stone buildings for more than the few seconds I was able to ward off thoughts of, “What’s next?”
After two a and a half weeks, I finally felt comfortable. Using the Metro, hearing their weird sirens, being a little more cautious with my belongings in public. I had just started to wander on my own, finding the Pantheon on our last Sunday. I think if we’d stayed longer, maybe another week or two, I might’ve gotten confident enough to use the French that I know, rather than only using the standard, “merci,” and “pardon,” or “au revoir,” and “bonjour.”
We—a small group of the classmates that turned into great friends—finally spent the day shopping. I got a new jacket and a scarf, and found gifts for my brother and boyfriend. I used my phone’s data without reserve, calling my mom from the store, feeling so relieved when she picked up and weighed in her opinions on my purchases. I tried Paris’ acclaimed (read: ridiculously good) hot chocolate, and I even found a gluten free bakery, completely by accident (I had a chocolate eclair).
Our final dinner, at Chez Bebert, was full of more laughter and wine (as our whole trip has been), and none of the self-consciousness that I felt during our arrival dinner. I realized during our last supper that while Paris has given me a lot, the people I have gotten to know are easily my most treasured souvenir (read: I love these people so much).
There will be more to come from my Paris journal!
(Also, the photo is from the first night, as it’s probably the best whole-group shot.)