9 months is quite the milestone. For most exchange students, it means that there is only one short month left. Which is practically true for me; I only have 33 days left here.
I don't even know where the month of May went. It seems like a blur.
Before I go on to write philosophically, I have some updates from the past week and a half!
From May 18 - 20, Parthenay was having its annual festival for the Pentecost. It wasn't a religious festival, no. Rather, for the holiday, the city was filled with tents typical of fairs, with food stands, games, and even rides. I spent the weekend with Claire and Brittany, another American living in the Deux-Sèvres department.
The night of Sunday the 19th, we watched a parade. This parade changes themes every year, and this year's theme happened to be luck. Go figure. Mocking me about how my luck has placed me in the middle of nowhere while I would have much rather preferred to be in a big city, but at the same time evoking the sheer luck I have to just be living in France.
Here are some photos from that night!
|Oh my gosh. PEOPLE.|
|WOW WHAT A PHENOMENON|
|Apparently, Friday the 13th signifies good luck in the French speaking world.|
|The equestrian club's float|
|Looks like I had bad luck while trying to capture the float of malchance (bad luck)|
The next day, the girls and I took a stroll around Parthenay. I have gone on that same promenade a multitude of times throughout my exchange, but at this point of my year, I've been more nostalgic looking at the scenery. It's really quite a charming little medieval town. I couldn't help but take more pictures to the plethora I already have of Parthenay.
That being said, on Wednesday the 22nd, I went up to Nantes for the day to say good-bye to Aarohi. If you've been keeping up with my blog at all, you'll know that she's one of my best inbound friends. (Click here to see the first entry I mention her in!) Because her school in India starts at the beginning of June, she had to leave a bit early; May 25 to be precise. Of course, since I hadn't seen her since the Rotary weekend in Paris, I had to see her one last time. We spent lunch and the afternoon together and with some other Rotary friends, but at about 5:00 pm, it was time to say good-bye...
...for the last time.
(Well, the last time on this exchange.)
In honor of our friendship, I made this collage.
|Those pictures don't even begin to convey how much fun we've had together.|
Now more than ever, the memories from the beginning of my exchange replay, hyper-real, in my mind. When I think of the emotions I felt, they resonate within me as if to transport me back to how I was then. But I'm not who I was back then. Back then, especially starting school, I was vulnerable. I didn't know anyone, I didn't know how to comport myself, I was inexperienced with how to act around French people. But since then, one of the most important things I have learned was how to have faith.
Faith in the people around me, believing that in every stranger is somebody I could rely on, no matter how trivial the request. Whether it be asking for a ticket to reload my cell phone, or asking for serious advice on a personal dilemma, everyone on this Earth exists to be of help to everyone else. We are, after all, all in this together. (Thank you, High School Musical!)
Faith in the passage of time. During rough patches in the beginning, I told myself that no matter how surreal or difficult life was, nothing was as real as the steady march of time. It waits for no one, slows down for no one. Cringe-worthy moments and moments I cherish alike will eventually fade and exist only in my mind. Eventually, I will question myself as to whether certain things actually happened, or if my imagination just fabricated them or twist an already existing memory. (Disclaimer: I keep a journal, just to have proof of such memories. I like being sure that certain things really did happen.) Furthermore, no matter how long and boring economy class drawls on, it eventually ends. No matter how far away a trip or a Rotary weekend seems, it will eventually get here. All I need is patience. And faith.
Faith in the fact that no good-bye is forever. Even though there are people I miss terribly, I know that every day that passes since the last time I saw them only means one day less until I see them again. I know in my heart that I can see the friends who mean the most to me again, sometime, somewhere. Remember how I saw Francesca again? Today's world is so compact, and especially with the communication technology and methods of travel, anything is possible.
And of course, most importantly, faith in myself. Compared to how I felt in the beginning, I'm completely confident in who I am now, and self-conscious isn't a word I'd use to describe my daily character anymore. I trust my determination to accomplish everything I set my heart to do. I trust that it is up to me to make my exchange, and my life, as incredible as it can possibly be. I know that I am capable of anything if I feel motivated enough. The life I have ahead of me is brimming with opportunity and adventure. With the profound faith in myself I've gained throughout this exchange, I really can make my dreams a reality and live up to this quote...
As a final note:
Thanks to my faith in myself and my planning skills, and my faith in the fact that it is possible to be reunited in the most unexpected ways, I managed to squeeze in a day trip to Paris soon to see a very special friend again, two weeks before I leave.
I'm not gonna be anxious for time to pass because I have faith that the day will come eventually, and even though my counselor hasn't replied to my email explaining the plans, I'm confident that he'll let me go.
Well, aren't all these lessons I've learned culminating well? ;)