Our Luck Time at This Dernière Minute...
A wise Venezuelan who I encountered on my travels in Europe once said to me “This is your luck time.” And he was right. This is my luck time. Or this was my luck time. It’s incredible how I took my time here in Paris at first, almost completely, for granted. I’m fairly certain, too, that it has only mildly sunken in that I am here—even at the dawn of my leaving (almost literally). Nevertheless, here are some reflections—as I sit pondering self-growth, change, time, and life as that looming deadline of Tuesday threatens to cut short my fairytale, and throw me back into the reality that is my life in the states.
I learned about a culture, I learned about a people, I learned about types of food, I learned about the concept of siestas in Spain, that Czech drunk food is deep fried cheese on a bun with a creamy sauce, that Rome, even in the rain, is breathtaking, that the sky in Paris is like crystal when it’s not grey. And not only did I learn about these things (dramatic pause for cliché), I freaking lived them…I ate bizarre cuisine, I made social faux pas like touching things at vendor stands before asking permission, and hugging people when you first meet them instead of giving them bisous. And it’s all okay—because no matter how embarrassed I got, or how uncomfortable on the silent subways as I was sometimes—all of that lead to my realization that I have the capacity to be comfortable in a foreign place—and that it’s possible for a person to adjust, and become one with a culture.
At the beginning of the semester, a professor of mine asked “what does it mean to be francophone?" As a class we sort of concluded that it was a mixture of things: Speaking the language, observing the culture, and most importantly LIVING, at least a bit—in the style of this foreign French place. And without any other options (seeing as I found myself living in a foreign land for this number of months), I ended up living a lot—I became somewhat francophone (I think).
I don’t know what I will remember years from now, but I do know being in Paris has affected me and my outlook on things…I’m much more appreciative, for instance, of a beautiful setting and being in good company with people who you consider to be good friends. I think I’ll also take the sentiment I grasped from that essential part of being francophone--of living in a culture to make the idea of being francophone real...The idea of living to live is interesting. It was an excuse I made for myself in justifying some stuff I’ve done here…but rightfully so, I’ve realized.
We only freaking live once. Judge all you want, but in the end, life and notable points in our lives are made up of those particles of moments in which we’ve lived and have been really present. Though this outlook probably can’t justify all things, Paris made me realize we have to live while we can, stand up on the subway while our legs won’t give out on us years from now, read books while our eyes work, eat salty/creamy/heavy/fatty foods while they won't send us into heart failure, then walk off all of that food while we still can...go places, see things, dance, and enjoy.
Thanks Paris for making me realize I gotta keep living…you’ve truly filled me up, yet I still have a thirst for more, thanks to you. Through having really lived this study abroad expereince, I have realized that what I will be bringing back with me …Seeking to prolong my "luck time ."
Thanks everyone for a great semester- it was a pleasure to read all of your posts and see your time abroad through your eyes. It was also interesting to see how we all seemed to experience a lot of the same things, despite being literally on the other side of the globe in completely different situations. Best of luck, everyone....I leave you with this song by Carla Bruni, at our dernière minute at our foreign places.
Cheers, It's been a pleasure,