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The Calendar

March 21, 2013

Thursdays have become special days this semester. For starters, they’re the beginning of my weekend. They’re laundry days, grocery shopping days, sleeping days, and, more excitingly (what do you mean laundry isn’t exciting? My load of colors only needed 2 dry cycles today!), travel days. I left for Amsterdam on a Thursday, left for London on a Thursday, and I’ll leave for York next Thursday.

And, in seven Thursdays, I’ll leave Paris for the United States.

I’m officially more than half-way through with my time abroad, which is completely bizarre. I leave May 9, making the time abroad exactly four months. I passed the half-way point March 8 (sorry for not blogging; I was experiencing French culture), and now there are seven more weeks, 49 days, until I return home.

It’s bittersweet, just like that Tuesday when I boarded a plane for Paris was. A bit of me, to be honest, is kind of relieved. Sometimes I’m just tired of so many things here — the smell of urine in the metro; the claustrophobia that comes with over-crowded school buildings and sidewalks; the stress of having a life, people I love and technical logistics, in both Paris and North Carolina; the bit of guilt that comes with sometimes feeling physically and emotionally fatigued during this opportunity.

And part of me isn’t ready to leave and doesn’t think I’ll be ready to leave in seven weeks. I know already I’ll miss hearing different languages and accents on a daily basis and going for runs between the Eiffel Tower and Ecole Militaire and successfully (or unsuccessfully) speaking French and having the ability to buy a train ticket and just go to another country. I’ll miss the independence and the adventure and the different color of life here.

The good news is it means I’m returning to a very good place and leaving a very good place. There’s a reason I still consider my parents’ house to be more of a home than Chapel Hill, but, somehow, and completely unexpectedly, Paris has become a bit of a home. Between some rough patches and some wonderful times, it took a year for Chapel Hill to earn the title of second-home; naturally, I thought Paris would need just as long.

Nope. Take two months and some incredibly low and incredibly high points, a good bit of independence, and a few train stations and you’ve got yourself an odd sort of home in Paris, a home that’s so temporary but so personal. People say you learn a lot about yourself while studying abroad. It would be more accurate to say I’ve learned more about what I can do while studying abroad, and when a city’s the main backdrop for those lessons, I guess it just takes the expedited route to being called a home.

We’ve been through a lot, you and I, Paris. I am very tired of you and very attached to you. So, congratulations, I suppose. Way to just whiz past those additional 10 months I thought you’d need, champ.

This next month I’ll probably spend leisurely panicking about all of the schoolwork I have to complete before the semester ends, my three 2,000+ word papers and two exams and many small assignments in between. But there will be some fun in-between, too, and I have a couple of weeks in Paris and maybe elsewhere after classes end to ensure everything is ticked off the bucket list.

And then Thursday, May 9, I’ll be at Charles de Gaulle. An 8-hour plane ride later and I’ll be in America, and after a long layover but a shorter plane ride, I’ll be home. Home for two weeks with my family and friends and so many errands that I won’t even mind running since it’ll be home. I love Paris. I really love home.

And then I’ll be at the airport again, boarding another plane to Philadelphia. And 10 days later, after some intensive editing training, I’ll be on another plane (I’m going to be so sick of air travel by the end of the year), only this time to Florida, where I’ll stay for 10 weeks intensely editing.

I really enjoy writing, and I really enjoy editing. Just give me an activity that involves words and I’ll be content. So even though it means more airplanes and more time away from North Carolina and more time overheating because I have such terrible heat tolerance (thanks, Dad, for being from the north and all), I am very excited to spend the summer in Florida. I accepted a Dow Jones News Fund copy editing internship, so I’ll be editing for either the wire service or the international desk of The New York Times at its regional editing center.

Aaand I usually rush past the news after people find out since it’s bigger than the usual news I have, and it was rather unexpected, and I haven’t yet gotten used to the idea, only the shock that comes with it.*

One day I’ll write about how the internship almost conflicted with the study abroad program and how three weeks before I was supposed to be on a plane leaving America, when I was offered the internship, my dad said “Well, it’s not too late to cancel on Paris, is it?”

Obviously, I came to Paris. And there’s thankfully enough magic in the world that allows me to take advantage of both fantastic opportunities, and I couldn’t feel more grateful and fortunate.

So that’s the upcoming calendar. It’s unnerving and exciting, as most valuable things are, I’m finding. One-and-a-half months in Paris. 10 weeks in Florida. Then four months in the beautiful Chapel Hill.

And then I graduate.

Oy.

I would panic, but I’m finally recognizing that some things are too far in the future to worry about. I will request, though, World, that you please slow down a bit. Don’t you think you’re moving a bit fast?

*You can’t tell since it’s writing, but in my head I’m saying this in one very quick and rushed breath. Just so you can adjust your reading accordingly.

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