As this is my final conclusion, I see it fitting to revisit my first post so that I can remember what my hopes and aspirations for this semester were and see how they have changed and what has been accomplished.
Here is my original list of aspirations for the semester with commentary.
1. Study abroad long-term … check check and check! 4 months was not long enough, and I definitely would like to study abroad longer, get an internship abroad, or work abroad. Although I have family and friends to get back to now, I will not dismiss this for the future.
2. Become fluent in French .. I did not accomplish this goal entirely, but I tried my best given the circumstances of being surrounded by international students rather than French students, and I am infinitely better at French than when I came.
3. Find a church/fellowship of believers .. haha what a great experience this was, you should ask me about it sometime if I haven’t already told you.
4. Fall more in love with Christ and his word … I was curious to see how this would play out when I got here and realized how alone in this goal I was. But, being isolated from my Christian fellowship back home really helped me grow and I will be able to take back a lot of good habits with me that I’ve developed here.
5. Learn how to cook French food authentically .. well I definitely enjoyed French cooking and became very knowledgeable about it … but without a working oven or cooking supplies, accomplishing this exact goal proved impossible.
6. Ski/Snowboard in the Alps .. didn’t know Switzerland was insanely expensive when I first created this goal, so I’ll have to wait to accomplish it until I’ve got some money in the bank haha.
7. Acquire a taste for wine … still like Porto or Kir better, but I have acquired a taste for white or rosé wine with dinner.
8. Shop at the Marche Aux Puces .. a lot different from what I expected (very pricey), but still an awesome experience at the world’s largest flea market. The flea market in Lisbon was still my favorite.
9. Stay at a hostel … didn’t realize I’d be staying at hostels almost more than in my own bed some months, so definitely accomplished this goal.
10. Find out if Audrey Hepburn influenced Paris as much as Paris influenced Audrey … found out she influenced London more than Paris after finding her memorabilia in every souvenir shop around London but rarely in souvenir shops of Paris.
I’ve gotten a lot of things crossed off my life to-do list (if getting engaged was on there it would now be crossed off as well!), but I’ve added many new things as well due to the endless inspirations surrounding me here. I have also given myself some new goals, such as Germany before I’m 30 and back to Paris for one of the big wedding anniversaries in the future like 25th and/or even 50th.
After being home less than one day and it already feeling like the past 4 months never happened, I am so so glad I have my spring 2011 photo album on my computer with 684 pictures I can look at when I need proof to convince myself it wasn’t all just a dream.
Au revoir Europe et bonjour Oklahoma!