On my last Sunday in Paris, I was fortunate to be able to attend Hillsong Paris's Spectacle de Noël. Much to my surprise, my cousin Melanie (who had been studying abroad in England this past semester and was spending her last weekend in Europe in Paris) also came to church! Emily and Dustin were also able to join, and after church, we made lunch.Sunday evening I was able to see Harry Potter for a second time (but in English this time) with some friends from the foyer and my study abroad program. Though, the scene where Harry asks Hermoine for his wand was just not as funny as it was in French! Sunday night, Kelly and Emily's last night in Paris, a group of us had dinner together at Caroline's foyer for the last time in Paris. I believe it was that night when it all started to hit me - that the semester was coming to an end and that I would not be seeing these people that I had come to know and love over the past 3 and a half months.
Monday was a day for museums and fun - and the start of my goodbye to Paris. Emily and I packed a lunch for the day and then set off with Roanne for the Louvre. We explored Napoleon's Apartments and enjoyed the indoor sculpture garden (my favorite place in the Louvre!) After our lunch we traversed the garden of Tuileries, making our way to the Orangerie (yep, I had just been there Saturday). We then met up with Martin and Caroline and proceeded to explore the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe and the Marchés de Noël.
On Tuesday, Emily went off to Versailles and I visited the office for the last time - saying my goodbyes to all of the fun that lived in the 6th and 5th arrondissements. Martin and I had lunch at the student restaurant and then walked around the Luxembourg Garden. Upon her return to Paris, Emily and I met up and then also explored the Luxembourg Garden. We then headed down the Blvd St Michel to meet up with Roanne and Sam, but stopped at the Monoprix (sorry Dustin!) one last time. After meeting up with the girls, the four of us ventured to find ice cream from Berthillon on the Isle St. Louis and stopped by Notre Dame on the way. The sorbets and creams were just delicious and even though it was freezing, they were well worth it! The four of us went our separate ways and I ventured down the Blvd St Michel to take a look at all of the bookstores and souvenir shops one last time.
Emily and I had dinner with Roanne at her foyer, and then the three of us met up with Caroline and Martin for Nutella crêpes on Blvd St Michel. (If you are ever in Paris, you must go to this crêpe stand that is just around the corner from the fountain. They have nutella crêpes for only 2.5euros and they will even make you a half nutella, half speculoos crêpe! Ask me for more details if you need!) We met up with Austin later that night and walked alone the Seine - Paris is such a beautiful city at night, with all of the lights and architecture, though Tuesday night, due to heavy fog, the city had a more somber feel. We all parted ways and Emily and I did our final packing back at the foyer. I could hardly sleep on Tuesday night - maybe it was the excitement to be coming home, or maybe it was because I was sad to be leaving.
Wednesday morning, Emily and I left my foyer at 5:45am. My flight was scheduled to leave at 9:25am and hers at 11:40am. Getting through the metro proved to be a little challenging, but thanks to some helpful Parisians, we were able to get to the airport smoothly! Unfortunately, the two of us were leaving Charles de Gaulle from different terminals, so we said our goodbye on the RER B. The flight went by rather quickly, though I did watch two movies, spent some time reading and having a quiet time, listened to music, and attempted to nap (though I only slept for about a half hour).
I called my family right when we landed on Texas soil. They told me that they had already left the house and that we would meet outside of Terminal E. The walk from the airplane to customs seemed to take forever, like I was walking through a never-ending hallway that only lead to more people and long lines. Thankfully though, going through customs took about all of 15 minutes, and when I reached the outside of baggage claim, ran into an old friend from high school! A few minutes later, I saw my mom and Kyle walk through the doors, and could not have been more happy, excited, elated, and relieved. We quickly left the airport to meet my dad and Cameron and then headed home.
So just like that, my semester in Paris was over. I have been home for almost 5 full days and am nearly over my jet lag. I have been able to meet up with friends and family, but most importantly, have been catching up on rest! In all honesty, even though December 25th has passed, it does not quite feel like the Christmas season to me. Maybe it's because I left a chilly 20 degree snowglobe for a humid 70 degree greenhouse. But nevertheless, it has been wonderful to celebrate the birth of my Savior with my friends and family! This time last year, I was headed to New Braunfels with a couple of friends to meet up with others from Trinity to drive to St. Louis for Urbana 2009 (the largest missions conference in North America). It's crazy to think that it has already been a year and is even more wild to reflect on what all has changed within me.
Unfortunately, this blog was only meant to keep record of my semester abroad, but who knows what will happen to it in the future! With that, I will leave you with pictures from my final days in Paris - there are definitely more on Facebook, and still others that I would love to show you on my laptop! So, until next time, Thanks for reading!
All my love,
|Mel and me. For the first time ever, someone has told us that we look alike!|
|Our last dinner together (Roanne, Caroline, Courtney, Kelly, Emily, Martin)|
|Saying goodbye to Dustin and some Paris street decorations|
|The indoor sculpture garden|
|A view from Napoleon's Apartments|
|Do you know the story behind all of these locks?|
|Finally found a mini Liberty after 3 months!|
|Berthillon ice cream!|
|An accurate description of this past semester.|
|Oh Paris, you are so much fun!|
|The strange escalator system of Charles de Gaulle|
|Back to school in less than 3 weeks! Em - see you soon!|