I’m sitting on intercity train number 5970 in car 16, seat number 18. It’s 1:11 and the train is scheduled to depart at 1:25 for Paris Bercy. I took my debate final this morning, cleaned my room, fought with the cleaning lady, returned my key, and drug my suitcases to the train station across town. I have with me one large suitcase weighing 49 pounds, one large duffle bag weighing 45 pounds, a backpack weighing 30 pounds, and a purse.
When I arrive in Paris at 5:00 pm I’ll attempt to use Über for the first time (I know, I’m behind the times) to get from the Gare de Bercy to my hotel near Charles de Gaulle Airport. My flight is tomorrow Saturday June 4 at 11:25 am. I’m flying to Dallas where my family will pick me up and we’ll all drive back to Oklahoma.
My forearms are exhausted and are throbbing. My hands are red and raw from the suitcases and my back is sore. I’m not exactly excited but I’m not sad either. I feel like I’m on autopilot just completing the tasks I need to complete in order to get from A to B.
Right now when I think about going home I see it as a positive thing. I’ll eat Cool Ranch Doritos, get to see my family, and play with my cat. I have plans to hang out with some friends. Overall, home should be cool. I think I’ll miss the independence that I have here. It’s going to be weird to return to my hometown of Moore, Oklahoma where I know most of the people. It’s going to be weird to see people I went to elementary school with. I guess I like it here because I can walk around without seeing people I know or I can go see friends. If I want to hop over to the grocery store I can do it without talking to anyone, which is nice. Back home I won’t have to walk everywhere (boy do I miss driving) but there’s something special about walking to the corner store or cutting through the park to get a kebab.
I’m going to be frank- I’ve had a weird relationship with France during my time here. It’s kind of crazy. I’ve gone through phases where I love it here, then I hate it here. France is awesome, then it’s awful. I’ve met people that are extremely helpful and kind, and I’ve also met people who are so incredibly rude it’s astounding. I think at the end of my study abroad experience I’ve landed somewhere in the middle. France is cool and there aspects of life here that I enjoy, and then there are things that I can’t wait to get away from. I’m glad I came here. I’ve undoubtedly improved my French, made some good friends, and eaten a lot of good food (with good wine of course).
It’s now 1:35 and the train has yet to leave the station- it’s been delayed, most likely due to the country-wide strikes. I think this pretty much perfectly sums up how things work in France.
My train had to take a longer route and arrived an hour and a half late. I successfully took an Über and my driver Jamel was a really nice French-Tunisian guy. It was a 45 minute ride so it wasn’t cheap, but I was worth it to avoid the chaos that is Parisian public transport at the moment. I’m now sitting in my hotel room. I took a shower, bought a delicious burger from a food truck, and I’m about to watch Netflix and drink some wine.
See ya later France, it’s been real.