I've been SO elated all break trying to hold myself together. Researching, studying, preparing- all of it only causes me to break out in little episodes of hysteria. I'm not talking about the stressing/crying/hair-pulling hysteria that comes with college studying, either. This is all self-inflicted education.
Why am I putting myself through such seemingly horrible torture, you ask?
It's because I'm going to France.
There. I said it without an exclamation point.
I'M GOING TO FRANCE, PEOPLE!!! And I can't say it without having a shipload of glitter and unicorns popping out either. Maybe I better tell you how this all got started.
You see, for years I've been fascinated by the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. It's just like one day I woke up and thought to myself, "You know, I kinda like that weird tower in France. I think I'll start collecting it." And then I started becoming enraptured by the French language, the little patisseries and cafés, and just about everything else involved in the French way of life.
I became a Parisian wannabe.
Several years and a roomful of Paris-themed decor later, my love for France continued to flourish. A little too much, one might think. Some of you may recall reading the post in which I discovered a macaron shoppe in Florida and was almost in a stupor when I realized the employee was French. (Um, yeah. That was a little awkward.)
In fact, this whole stinking blog is riddled with little tributes to France! (i.e. the opening of every post, the blog logo to the left of the blog name in the browser tab, etc. etc.) So it would come as no surprise that I have ALWAYS wanted to go to France.
Enter in a VIP member of the Education program at my U. This was how I first stumbled on the idea of study abroad-ing, though the notion was brought up in an art history class 2 years previously (an offer for Intro to Museology in- where else- Paris, France. At the Louvre. *insert ugly sobbing*). She brought in a flier for a study abroad to Argentina and I started thinking "Hm. This is my last year in college. My last chance for a structured/guided/non-touristy visit to another country. My last chance to visit another country with a generous discount via kind scholarships and student financial aid." My sister had just finished up a study abroad to Italy during the summer, so the opportunity was practically screaming at me. I started doing a little research on the Study Abroad website for my school, and that's when it happened.
Between Ecuador and Hong Kong sat the love of my life.
France! It was there, waiting for me, calling my name, singing my song. I knew it must be a sign.
I signed my little behind right up for that trip and waited for an answer. Before long, I received the glorious news that
Could it be so? Do dreams REALLY come true???
I started going through the paperwork and necessary registrations. France, it seemed would become my reality during the spring of 2016. Everything was falling into place.
On November 13, I was just about to check my email when I my eye caught one of AOL's trending headlines. Paris was under attack. In a panic I began reading as many updates and articles as I could find before catching onto a live newsfeed from Canada. I watched in devastation as the events unfolded before me and the death toll rose higher and higher, the city of my dreams coming under the siege of heartless terrorism. I was eventually pulled away from my post at my computer to take my sister to her birthday present, a concert on campus. Even there, thoughts of France raced through my mind, molding themselves to the music and creating meaning out of the emotion underlying each melody; before performing the next song, the conductor came off his pedestal to offer a moment of silence for the victims and their families in Paris, and the audience respectfully obliged. Even in America, we became united for the people of France.
Throughout this painful period, I felt sadness for the innocent people who were killed that night. On the backburner of my mind, consequently, sat the question: Would I still be going to France? My family were understandably not favorable to the idea. They saw France, particularly Paris, as a place no longer safe for their daughter to travel, and the idea of studying abroad was never a comfortable one. Weeks after tributes were being made and funerals were being held, I knew.
I still wanted to go to France. Maybe even more after seeing the bonds being formed by nations across the world for the hundreds killed and wounded in this peaceful country. The murderers had managed to tear a hole in the fabric of the country, but the world came together to help it mend and offer support. We were united.
Today, I continue preparations to visit my beloved country. It will be my first time out of America without family (and with complete strangers). It will also be the first country I visit where the primary language is not English. Sometimes the enormity of the language barrier and differences in customs tries to overwhelm me, but I could not be more excited for this new adventure. It's a piece of my life that will change me forever for the better. Most of all, I can't wait to share this part of my life with my fantastique readers. Listen people, don't be afraid to dream a little bigger! Life is only so long, you know?
You can follow my adventure here or on Insta as I make a dream a reality. <3
C'est la vie. Make it fabulous.
(PARIS top: Rue 21)