I won't necessarily call it the end because I know it's not really the end. Something inside is telling me I will be back, with certain people, or I'll at least be able to see them. I know I'm not finished learning from Rosine's plethora of knowledge and wisdom. And I know in my heart that the Three Musketeers will be reunited in Philadelphia, or in Miami. Part of me wishes it was easier to see everyone again, but nothing in life is ever truly easy.
It's raining in Paris today. Storming actually. The first relief from the summer heat in almost three weeks. Sure it rained a little one week, but nothing like this. It always seems like when I am sad to leave a place, the sky cries with me. And it's never just a few tears and then sunshine bliss part two. It's a day long event of torturous feelings, consuming the lives of everyone. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but what's Paris without a little drama?
I don't know if I can bring myself to truly believe I am leaving. Maybe it's because the end approached so quickly, none of the group could really grasp that it was in fact coming. We spent the last few days together talking about how our trip ended up circling back to where it all began.
"Tours", The Loire Valley, 2010
"It's so funny because this all started with just a couple of bottles of wine among 12 strangers in front of the Louvre and now we're ending with just a couple of bottles of wine among 12 friends in front of the Eiffel Tower along the Seine." --M.E.P.
I don't weep for leaving people behind. I weep for temporarily leaving people behind I have yet to even begin to understand. It only took a few weeks for me to fall in love with a few of them, but it will be months before we see each other again. And I can only hope that we do in fact see each other again.
Sure, I made a lot of mistakes while I was in Paris. Missed the last metro a few times, so I had to stay out all night. I slept through a couple of classes and even missed one small excursion so I could nap. But I know that I came here to figure out why I make the messes I do. I came here to understand myself just a little bit better, and to start to grasp the world around me just a little bit more as well. Not only have I learned a lot about how my mind works and why sometimes I make the mistakes I do, but I learned a lot about how the world itself functions. I could finally see how an entire city interacts, on foot, and I saw firsthand how strangers can become friends without doing so in the boundaries of a classroom.
I fell in love with a few new friends, an entire city, and a lifestyle I hope to always follow. When I arrived in Paris my heart was much smaller-- not Grinch sized, but smaller. And now as I start to leave Paris I know my heart has grown a tremendous amount. I'm not afraid to walk up to people and vice versa; I'm not afraid to be approached for directions, in fact I now welcome it. And after seeing how people suffer here, I have much for respect for the lives they lead and for the help they deserve to receive.
"La Fontaine a Saint Sulpice", Marche Bibliophile, 2010
Top 12 Events in Paris: (in no particular order)
1. Marching along the Seine at sunrise to lay down at Notre Dame.
2. Fireworks show at Saint Cloud
3. Lunches at Luxembourg Garden
4. Centre Pompidou
5. Sitting like school children in every Art Museum for Art History Class.
6. Street performances every night at Saint Michael's Fountain
7. Madame Mellado's grammar class
8. Playing/Talking in the forest at Chenonceau
9. Dancing late into the night
10. Going to Musee de l'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris with Rosine.
11. Shopping with Corinne on Rue Mouffetard
12. Sacre Coeur & Montmartre afternoon excursion
"Chere Rosine et Moi", Chez Madame Dru, 2010
To the beautiful city of Paris, you now possess a large part of my heart and even larger part of my soul. Take good care of it for me until I return.