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I am leaving France tomorrow. I don't know exactly how I feel about this fact. So much about me has changed here and I feel like I will be leaving an important part of myself behind when I return home. It feels kind of weird to say "return home", because Vienne has become my home. Not just as in the place that I reside, but where I feel comfortable and among family. I have so many memories in this house, positive and negative, that leaving it is heart-breaking. It's not the same feeling as when I left Austria, because I knew that I would have something to return to and that I would be leaving for only 5 months, and now I know that I will never return to this house or go to the same lycée with the same people which is really sad right now.

- The next day -

I'm on the plane right now, almost about to take off, and so many things are going through my head right now. How has this flown by so quick? I remember saying goodbye to Pops and arriving in Lyon with Norah and Aline waiting for me like it was yesterday! Saying goodbye (or see you soon, I hope) was extremely sad. I didn't think that I would cry but of course I did - I cry very easily. They are like my family now! As I'm writing this and thinking about all the amazing things we have done together makes me want to cry again. Ugh. You don't think about this part at all when you arrive. I'm pretty sad right now. I know that I'll be happy and relieved when I arrive in Austria and see Pops, but even though is wasn't always easy, I loved living in Vienne and everything about the them I spent there.

I do wish that I had gotten to talk to Rémi more though - we were both pretty shy around each other for the first 3-4 months and I feel that if I had stayed for a few more months that we would have become better host siblings. I would have definitely stayed longer, maybe even a full year. I did so many cool things and met so many cool people, but I feel like I missed out on a lot at school the first semester and that I would have definitely become closer to my host family. I don't know - I mean I'm extremely thrilled about how my semester turned out, but I think that I would have benefited from a year. Well, I can always do an exchange year in college!

Oh Vermicelle. My best buddy in Vienne. You were there for me when I arrived and when I left. I really might cry thinking about her. We loved each other so much and cuddled together in my bed when it was cold. She was always there for me, especially in the beginning when I wasn't sure what to expect. I hope that my host family gives you so much TLC for me. I will miss you so much.

Update: we took off and I started crying again. I had planned to listen to "Standing By" by Pentatonix when we took off, for months - since before I had even arrived in France. This is because it is such an inspiring, sad and powerful song that even past me know that I should listen to it when I left. I am so glad that I listened to it - made me feel like I was in a movie which made me extremely sad and happy at the same time. You should definitely go and listen to it here.

Update #2: I'm on the second airplane now - we are ahead of schedule and should be landing in the next 20 minutes! I am so happy to see Pops, that I'm literally smiling ear to ear. I also might cry - it has been a very emotional day. I have also been traveling by airplane all day, which I hate - I much prefer trains.

I finally arrived and Pops was waiting for me at the gate. Such a joyous reunion! We walked back to his apartment and then got Pho - the place was empty for the whole time that we were there, which didn't make any sense, because the food was amazing! I have never had Pho before, and this was so good! So much flavor. Anyway, I was super tired, so went to sleep after dinner.


I am so grateful for such an amazing experience in France that I will never forget. Having the perfect host family really helped me adjust to the new culture and environment. I am eternally grateful to them for letting me stay with them for 5 months - I know it wasn't always easy and it just amazes me how open you have to be to let a stranger into your house for a semester. I now have a second family that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. And hey, I'll always have somewhere to stay in France!


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