A few words on what my life has been over a year.

I haven’t wrote anything on this blog anymore mostly because my journey is over in a way, but also because I was lazy to do so to be honest (and also because it isn’t always easy to go over this again).

I am more active here : on my cooking blog (pour ceux qui ne le savaient pas!) !

 

What did 2013-2014 look like ?

First : a lot of study. My masters was stressful, because no one knew what we had to do (it had just been reformed) ; because we had to take this national exam ; because it was complicated anyway. And apart from that a lot of my time was also taken by me tutoring 4 kids !

Second : a lot of nostalgia. It’s hard to leave a life you enjoyed ; it’s hard to not be with the amazing people you met over the year ; it’s hard to accept that it’s over and you will never be given this back.

Third : a lot of travel planning. Scotland, Poland, USA, Berlin, Paris… I’ll go over this later.

Fourth : some successful events happened… 🙂

 

The year went by super fast because I always had something to look for : our first break was in October where I got to see my grandparents and the rest of the family again. The second thing was my birthday and Christmas, followed by my amazing trip to Scotland with my favorite British people. I had missed them so much already. I’m still mad flight tickets aren’t cheaper so I could get to see them more than once a year. Emma welcomed me in Edinburgh and then we took the train to Glasgow where Jyoti and Matt met up with us. They know how grateful I am that they all took the time to come at the same moment as me. It was short but perfect, because we were finally back together, and to be honest it didn’t feel that it had been so long already.

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And then February arrived. I had spent almost every week since September looking for a way to go back to the States. I knew I could have my exams until the beginning of July and I also knew that I couldn’t afford to buy tickets for the summer. So, one night, I just decided I would go by the end of May until mid-June. I didn’t know when my classes were really ended nor when the national oral exams were beginning, but I figured that I’d be lucky and things would work out. They did.

 

So that was what I was looking for the most throughout the second semester. And I even get to travel more since my family decided it was time for us to go back to Poland this year ! So yay, more travelling and most of all an amazing week with my family.

 

I passed my school exams easily, and hoped on a plane literally 18 hours after my last day in class.

I now realize that going back to the States was essential to me. It helped turning the page I guess. It was a way to see that my friends were still over there, some things had changed, some things were the same, but most of all it helped me realize that even if my life there was over, it didn’t mean that it was erased (if that makes any sense)…

I spent some days in Albany, chilling for the main part, spending time with some of my friends, running into people I didn’t think I would see again, singing at the Hudson River Coffee House as usual, doing a photoshoot with Chanté and Andy, as usual…

It was sweet. Really. I feel blessed for meeting the people I met during my stay over there and that we stayed in touch.

It was hard to leave Albany again, probably because it brought back all the memories of the year before. Probably because there’s few chances I’m ever going back there again. Probably because I knew I’d miss these people very quickly.

I spent a couple of days in New Paltz and Poughkeepsie, in NY State where I saw Sam and Kelly. A lot of hiking / bike riding. Lovely friends and lovely weather. I was the happiest.

Kelly went with me in NYC for a while which was really cool because we hadn’t had the chance to do so the year before. I spent a few days with a friend from Queens as well. Getting the New York experience. A lot of walking and a lot of happy moments.

Obviously I went to visit Rick and Trish. Shortest stay ever. It felt so strange to be with them for such a short moment but it was perfect, as usual. Thanks to them I got to see the whole family on Saturday : again, you will understand that they are probably the sweetest people on Earth.

Did a lot of shopping (clothes, BOOKS, apple devices (!!), cooking stuff…) : I knew I hadn’t work during the year for nothing 😉

I stopped by DC to meet up with a friend. It is funny because we were never really close the year before, but we kept in touch from time to time, and she invited me to stay over for a night. It was lovely and that’s how you get to see the magic of your travelling : you meet people through your journeys that will always have an open door for you even if you don’t talk every day.

I walked around NYC one more day before flying back home. I’m in love with this city and what it represents. It’s funny how I miss being there all the time although I know I would never go and live there. But there is something magical about it, and the more time I spent in New York City, the more I love it…

People know I’ll be back as soon as I can. It’s more than a love story between this country and me. It is part of me now 🙂

 

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I am thankful for all my friends and all of them who made this journey possible, who welcomed me, who always make me feel like I’m home.

I came back home after that : I was taking my exams 2 weeks after. I had zero motivation to study (we already had been studying the materials from the beginning of April until the end of May). I was jet lagged and sad to be back home. But I tried, and apparently it worked. Also I really need to say that being back was made easier because most of my friends were back in our hometown and we got to spend tons of time together. Then, I went to Nantes to take the exam, so I got to visit a city of France I didn’t know, and then I headed to Paris, where, a few days after, I learned that I passed.

That was it, I had passed. I was going to be a teacher. I didn’t realize what it meant until the first day of work I think. But it was done, and it was great, and I got to celebrate it over the whole summer.

 

After that, I went to Berlin, where I met up with Daniya. Albany friendships are amazing, I’m telling you. It didn’t felt like we hadn’t seen each other for a year, but it was just a little weird to meet up in a city we both didn’t know and whose language none of us spoke. A lot of walking, trying to catch up on our lives, a lot of happy moments. Only happy moments.

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Summer went by like this : I learnt where I was sent to teach (you don’t get to chose anything in France, but at least you are guaranteed a job…) which wasn’t far from home, I learnt which grades I’d be teaching (the two first grades of middle school), I tried to get some things ready for September, but mostly I got to relax and to travel again (Crete, the Greek Island with the family!).

 

September came quite fast. I have been teaching now for over 3 weeks. It is only 9 hours per week since I’m still in school to finish my masters (basically I have finals to pass and a dissertation to write and present in May). I’ll be honest, I love my job and I hate my time in school because, once again, no one knows what we are supposed to do since it’s the first year it is done this way. We are losing a lot of time and energy with the administration, but it is fine. Because it is only one more year and then I’ll get to be a full time teacher !

Teaching is great but I’m exhausted and always worried about them not learning properly ; I have to deal with dyslexia every day and it’s hard when you have never been told how to do so ; I have to deal with them being just kids (so many dumb questions !) and being hilarious sometimes but not always encline to work, etc etc etc. But I am having so much fun (except when grading papers and realizing that they don’t work enough and I cannot do anything but to put a bad grade…) and my supervisor is quite happy with how I’m handling them. So yes, success.

 

A new life is beginning, that’s it.

 

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Funny little feeling.

I’ve been back home for now 3 months. I still feel like life goes by faster than it should.

It has been easier than I thought, which doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Because it isn’t, but for good reasons.

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My summer went by so fast, but it was so wonderful. It felt good to come back, and I had so many plans.

I saw my family again, even if I had to wait two weeks before spending time with my baby brothers, who are definitely way to tall now. I saw my best friends again, it felt good. It simply felt good.

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Then, Daniya came to visit. It was funny because we both had the feeling that we had seen each other not so long ago, even though it had been over 6 months. But it felt right to be together, everything was so easy. Showing her a bit of Grenoble and its mountains, wandering into Paris, spending hours to talk about our lives, taking loads of pictures. Oh boy, I need to go to Russia. As soon as possible. She’s one of the sweetest person I’ve ever met, and she’s truly amazing. Who can talk french when you only studied it for 2 semesters ?! She was even able to have conversations with kids. Kids.

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So I did spend few days in Paris, it’s becoming a summer routine, and I will never get tired of it. Wonderful city, but most of all, I get to be with the nicest people in the world. Including my goddaughter obviously ; ) -Going back soon-

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After that, we went, the 6 of us, in the South-West of France. A place I had never been before. So pretty. I just fell in love in my country, again. I just love family vacation, I guess we get along pretty easily in the end. Got to take pictures with my sister, got to just enjoy my time with them.

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We headed a bit more south, to meet up with Rick, Trish and Louise, and the rest of my mom’s family. The place was lovely, the surroundings were maybe not as great as 3 years ago, but it was still fun. And let’s be honest, I could FINALLY speak english again. (You have no idea of how bad I miss it…). And most of all, it felt good to see them again. Felt like my journey wasn’t over yet.

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(They brought me back all the stuff I couldn’t carry, more books, more things. Still wondering how I got to that point : ) !)

It was hard to see them go, being friends with people living abroad is probably one of the best things and the hardest things in the world. I’ve learnt that.

 

Then I was back in Grenoble, trying to settle down as much as I could, I knew things would be different at home as well since Valentine was moving out. I was not yet ready to be back, took me until mid-september to tidy things properly (and I anticipate your jokes, it doesn’t mean it’s tidied today, but things are at least where they should be). I still felt like I was in vacation in my own town, in my own house.

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So many things have change over here, but I’m back to the same place. Still trying to accommodate.

I helped Valentine moving out of the house, helped her moving in her first apartment in Dijon. It was fun, and I know that even if it isn’t easy for her everyday, she’s gonna make the best of it, she’s just the greatest. No matter what : )

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And school started. Despite all the mess it was to get an official paper saying I graduated and to apply to my masters, despite all the mess it still is because they have modified the masters over the summer and we still don’t really know what the national test (« concours ») will really be, it was good to start a new year.

It takes me a lot of time, I’ve around 30 hours of class per week, I also do some tutoring, as for now I’ve 4 students (3 in english, and on in … maths… which is pretty funny, but I just love teaching maths, weirdly.). Basically half of my classes are english classes (literature, civilization, translation, linguistics) and the other half is more about pedagogy, didactic etc etc.

It’s a lot, because it doesn’t give me enough free time to study on my own for the test, which will begin in April, and I still have mid-terms and finals to take and to pass hopefully, but I really enjoy it. I know it is truly what I want to do, no matter how hard it will be, no matter how little the recognition that we get from is.

We started the internship last tuesday, for the first part, it will be every tuesday during 6 weeks. It’s only observation as for now, practice will come in January. But it’s so interesting. And scary, but interesting !

 

I’m already trying to plan when I could come back to the US. It isn’t that easy, but I just can’t stop thinking about it. I miss speaking english everyday, I miss the people most of all, I miss being abroad, traveling, I miss the excitement, I miss the whole experience.

But one thing at a time, I’ve already taken my plane tickets to go (for the first time!) in the UK and meet up with Emma, Jyoti and Matt around New Year’s Eve. Which is gonna be more than amazing.

 

That’s how I deal with my life for now: making plans in the future to reunite with my amazing friends.

Because I know it is okay to miss all the things that happened back there, it is okay to meet the friends I’ve met along the way, or the people that I already knew and helped me over there. I know that it is normal for it not to be so easy, being back is great in so many ways, I mean I’ve a wonderful family and amazing friends here as well, but no one can truly understand what it was apart from them*, but you still have to move forward, because life goes on, and lots of beautiful things are still happening.

And it was only the beginning of the story.

 

The last Goodbye

I still have a bunch of things to sum up, and I won’t have time before being back home, but I wanted to try to put words on what is going on in my head right now.

I’m taking my plane to go back home tomorrow at 4.15pm, meaning exactly in 17 hours. And it feels weird. Very weird.

 

First of all, I should let you know that packing was not that easy, even with 2 suitcases (and a carry on, and a backpack). Thank God for Rick and Trish being the sweetest people and for coming in France in August and being able to bring me back few things (thank you, again and again…). I really hope I won’t have any trouble at the airport tomorrow. Yes, I’m a bit freaked out.

How I ended up with that many HEAVY things ? I still wonder.

 

But anyway, that was just the ‘funny’ part.

It is hard, to pack a year of your life in bags, knowing that you will never get all of this back. It is hard because I think it is through material things that I realize what all of this means.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a part of me very excited to go back home, to see my family that I’ve been missing more than I’ve let them know, to see my friends who have been there for me all year long and whom I’ve missed way too much. I’m looking forward to see all of you, it’s been a long time and we have so much to catch on.

But, at the same time, I need to start my life all over again in a way, but in the same place as before. And this is very weird. It is like a new beginning but in the same old place, and I’m not sure I completely like this.

You probably know me enough that I’ve always had self-confidence issue, I like change as much as I hate it.

I’ve probably changed a lot over the year, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what I want in life in general, and it is not that easy to go back home and have this feeling like I’m going to settle down.

I’ve met great people here, built strong friendship throughout this year, I already have a lot of travel plans, and it will be fine, I know that.

But as for now, there is still this part of me worrying about how things are going to be after the summer.

Because this summer will be as amazing as it has started, I know that, I can count on my friends back in France, I can count on Daniya coming to visit me, I can count on my family for being there everyday.

 

I should say thank you, one more time, to everyone.

To my family, who made this experience a dream come true, who supported me and helped me throughout the year. Who’s been there and who has known how to deal with the distance, giving me enough freedom to enjoy this completely and knowing how to be there for me even from that far away. Thank you for your love, your patience, and your generosity. You gave me the possibility to turn my dream into reality and what it turned to was way better than what I could have hoped for, and it would never have happened without all of you.

To my friends, back in France or traveling in the UK for the most of them, thank you for being there weekly, and sometimes even daily when we could manage it. Thank you for being the best friends I could wish for, knowing we would still be close even when an ocean was between us, thank you for all of our skype conversations, all the tiny messages that reminded me I was never alone and you would always be there, and most of all, thank you today, for waiting for me to come back home. It feels good, really.

To my American family that I’ve adopted 8 years ago without asking for their permission, thank you for being the best. Is that too simple ? Maybe, but what could I add. I’m proud to say that our families met more than 40 years ago now, I’m proud to say that I’m part of the 3rd generation and that I will take care of this friendship built over the years. But most of all, I do feel like I’ve another family on this country. Thank you for welcoming me, thank you for having me over and taking care of me so well.

To all of my international friends, thank you for always being around, for sharing and understanding whatever we were going through during the year. Thank you for your time, your smiles, your presence. From the parties held to my place to the study time in the library, from lunches in the Campus Center to going out for cocktails, from dinners and TV shows together to traveling on greyhound buses, everything was awesome, you made it awesome.

To my American friends, met along the way, thank you for your patience and your understanding. Thank you for making my experience abroad an American experience. Thank you for letting me into your lives even when you knew I would physically only be there for a year. Thank you for all the time we’ve spent together and all the things we’ve done. The people I’ve met in class, the people I’ve met through University Photo Service, the people I’ve just ended up meeting out of nowhere, you made my experience complete, it was amazing everyday.

 

To all of you, I’ll see you soon. As soon as I can, I swear.

And I thought I might get ‘bored’.

I remember when I changed my flight tickets in January to come back on the 14th of July, I thought that it meant I had more than 6 weeks after moving out of Albany, without any real plans. And I’d rather get ‘bored’ while being in the US than being bored back home.

I would never get bored.

I ended up with a lot of plans for the summer, even last minute ones.

When I came back from NYC, after waiting forever for my bus to Annapolis from Baltimore that never came, I spent the week end at Rick and Trish’s. Including wine tastings and good food and good time and good music and good movies..

The beginning of the week was basically fighting against the heat and avoiding being out during these big storms. I finally bought my second suitcase.

On Thursday, MC, Alex and Brigid picked me up to go to Washington DC Zoo. We wanted to see the red pandas, they weren’t here. They probably had moved them out for a while because one of them had been stolen few days before and reappeared somewhere in the streets of DC, and as for now they still are trying to figure out how that could have happened.

We went to the Museum after to Alex could work on something for extra-credits in his french class. And MC drove us back, dropping Alex at one of his friends’ and Brigid and I at Rick and Trish’s.

My plan first was to meet up with Jyoti and her friend who were arriving in DC on the same Thursday. But on wednesday night, I realized that it would be a bit complicated since we already had our own plans and this would led us leaving DC pretty early in the afternoon. I also knew that Rick and Trish would be busy all Saturday long.
They has told me they could drop me at a metro station anytime, so after talking about it with Jyoti and checking the price of the hostel, I decided that I would spend the whole week end in DC with her.

As for Friday, I spent the day with Brigid and Trish, which included mainly a photoshoot, going to the Amish market and teaching Brigid how to make a tarte 😉

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Just like all June long, the evening corresponded to us complaining about the huuuuuge storm (that Rick has had to deal with to bring back the pizzas).

I was meeting Jyoti and her friend around 11 in DC, it was hot and sunny, and she was there with her big smile on her face, as usual.
Jyoti is probably one of these people I met right at the beginning but whom it took me too long to get close to, whom it took me too long to get to know. But better late than never because she definitely became one of the people I trusted the most, that I loved the most and with whom I truly enjoyed traveling.
Basically our plan was to wander around the Mall on Saturday since the weather was so nice and keep on walking on the riverside. On the evening we went back around Chinatown, I finally had dinner in Nandos (I know that you and Emma are so proud of me;)!) and we slowly went back to the hostel.

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On Sunday, after Jyoti was done braiding my hair (because she’s the best and it always look so pretty!) we went to have a very nice Brunch so that it would give some time to the rain to stop before we would head to wander in Georgetown.

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We walked for few hours and head back around 4pm to the Mall so that we could go to the Air and Space museum. I had planned to head towards to the metro around 5.15, which meant we had to say goodbye in the museum.

So you can now add museum to the list of places where I’ve been crying.

I’m tired of saying goodbye, but I hate not saying goodbye either. It’s hard every time, not because I’m never going to see these people again, because I know I will see her next year for example, but it’s hard because they have been in my life for a year, every day, and almost every second. We’ve been through this together, the good and the bad days, and we shared the exact same experience with our different personalities.

So yes, I didn’t like saying goodbye to Jyoti, because I knew I would miss her the second I would leave. And I do miss her now already. It is hard to be apart from the people with whom you’ve shared so much of your life.

 

But you know that I’m already working on this 2014 Summer Reunion, because I cannot spend that much time without seeing your face. And I’ll be coming to the UK next year, I promise.

What am I going to do without your sarcasm, without you braiding my hair, without you and your silly faces on pictures, without your hugs and your huge smile, in my daily life ?

You’re my silly kind of Asian friend, and obviously you’re already know that, but you’re awesome. Like really really awesome.

 

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My last trip, my last ride on Greyhound buses.

I will try not to be too emotional in this article but I’ll try to be as honest as I can.

Monday, June 17th. I had been waiting for this. It had been four weeks since I had left Chicago and Emma and Jyoti. But I knew I was going to see them again, starting with 5 days of travelling with Emma.

We knew we would arrive around the same time in Philly, we had booked our hostels, our bus trips, everything was planned.

Trish drove me to Annapolis Greyhound pick-up station, where the bus came 40 minutes late. It seemed clear that I would miss my connection. Frustration was felt, they were stealing time from me. I called Emma to let her know, and soon we realized that we were supposed to take the exact same bus from Baltimore to Annapolis. She was already on it, and it was leaving with 15 minutes late. It was leaving in 2 minutes. I was entering Baltimore. Emma asking the driver if he could wait for me, me trying to figure out how I could stop this bus from leaving. I made it, I still don’t understand how, just luck I suppose, but that was great.  And here she was, and here we were. Together. Reunited. It felt good. It felt right.

Our hostel was the best hostel I’ve ever seen so far, the people were amazingly friendly, it was perfectly situated, it was great.

We went to walk around the oldest part of the city, all the old buildings, went down Market St, got some Philly cheesesteak, walked around the riverfront, and came back by South Street, one of my favorite streets in Philly.

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On Tuesday we had planned a lot since our bus was only around 7pm, but it started raining a lot around noon, which drove us to do some shopping. What a terrible life. And what a pretty dress I ended up buying…! We had lunch (and the best cheesesteak so far!) in the Terminal Market, and we came back to hang out at the hostel before heading to the bus station.

This went by very fast, but New York was waiting for us, and New York with Emma felt a bit like home.

New York. I could spend hours talking, writing about this city. Of course I’m in love with it. It is just incredible, so much diversity, so much culture, so much beauty. I will probably never get tired of it.

I guess I like New York because I always feel like there’s so much to explore but at the same time I kinda know where I am.

We had two days, and we would make the most of them. We started by going to the Empire State Building, where we met up with Adam, a friend of Jyoti whom Emma and Lewis had met already in San Francisco.

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Emma and I went shopping a little after that, and then we walked towards the MoMA. They are currently having a thing called the Rain Room, which is basically an indoor downpour that detects your presence to keep you dry. Of course there was a 4hours waiting queue. Obviously, we didn’t stay. We headed towards Greenwich, wandered a little and went to walk the High Line where we met up with some friends from Queens.

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For dinner, we went to one of NY best pizza place, and it was very good indeed.

We said goodbye to Adam and headed up to Queens until very late at night. And it was nice. Very nice.

Not too easy to wake up early on Friday, but we manage to leave around 10.30 to go around Central Park, where we met up with Stephen, a friend of Emma from UAlbany. We stopped first by Levain Bakery to get some of these amazing cookies, and we went to walk in the park for couple of hours. It was hot and sunny, it was nice. Obviously we had our last hot dog in Central Park, being a tourist feels good sometimes.

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We took the subway to Battery Park, it was quiet, blue sky and not too many people. It felt really good.

Around 4pm we took the ferry to Staten Island, just to enjoy the view that you get from the ferry (I also have to add that it is free –couldn’t be better).

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John met up with us when we came back and we headed to Brooklyn, wandered a bit around Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, walked a little on the Promenade and walked the Bridge as well. We came back to Brooklyn to have our last dinner all together. Emma and I were finally realizing that we were very close to say goodbye. We found a lovely place where we could eat outside, they even served us wine ! yay.

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Good food, good friends. Even got a free brownie so we could celebrate Emma’s birthday.

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No need to say that this included some tears.

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This trip never felt real, everything was going to fast, a lot of surprises, ending up in places we didn’t think we would go, seeing some people that we didn’t think we would see again.

We ending up going to Staten Island at night, where I met up with a friend.

Trying to escape reality and this feeling of ending.

We headed up to the hostel pretty late, or should I say pretty early on Friday. Got few hours of sleep, packed our stuff. And cried, too much. In the lobby, on the subway, in the Greyhound bus station.

I had 1h30minutes to wait before my bus, so I went to the International Center of Photography, one last time. It wasn’t as good as usual, this day felt very bitter.

It’s hard to say goodbye to the person with whom you spent your entire year. She was definitely my best friend over there. The one I could call if I needed help and the one who knew I would help in any kind of situation. The one I would call if something stupid had happened to me, and the one who would join me weekly to watch funny TV shows. The one with whom I planned to travel since the beginning. The one with whom I spent most of my time.

Apart from her accent, she’s pretty cool. She’s amazing actually.

Sharing my kitchen with you, our life-stories, our shoes, everything, it felt right. Every day.

Please, come back.

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Puerto Rico, with the sweetest friend I could have asked for.

I remember when Ana talked about Porto Rico back in November, we were not close enough so that I could think that she was serious. But then, we got to spend more time together in December, and she would still tell me that I was always welcome. So I did start to think about it, more like a joke first, I mean come on, we’re talking about Puerto Rico. The Caribbean.

But then, she became one of my best friends over there. And she was serious about me coming over. So I started to be serious about it too.

I talked with my parents about it, my mom told me to go for it, such a great opportunity. I was settled, I wanted to go and spend a week over there with Ana. I took my tickets by the end of March, it still didn’t feel real. It never felt real actually.

She would talk about it over and over, and I just couldn’t realize.

So when June 5th happened, it seemed like an usual day. But not really.

Got out of the plane, and it was hot and humid. I was there. So was she. We were together. And as lovely as she is, I was welcomed like a princess…

On Thursday we visited the Farm were her boyfriend works, it’s mainly (but not only!) mangos, and they export a lot in Europe. I got to eat a mango that I had just picked from the tree. SO GOOD. It was actually very impressive, and very nice of him to show us around. I’ll try to look for them back in France 😉

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We had lunch in a lovely Cafe, Kasalta, and obviously we headed to the beach after that. The water was so clear, so warm, so nice. And mojitos by the beach, because we had bragged about it fro so long and we had to make Emma jealous 😉 !

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On Friday we left San Juan to go to the Island of Vieques where we would spend a night. Such beautiful landscapes, good food, and good times. And of course, I got the WORST sunburn of my life. (It’s been 3 weeks, and i’m still red in some parts of my body…).

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We went to visit Old San Juan on Saturday night, where we had dinner also, we wandered in the streets where people would dance Salsa everywhere. I’ve to say, I love the latin way of life. And I miss Salsa dancing a lot!

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On Sunday we went to walk through El Yunque, the Rain forest. It was really impressive, so humid but not too hot, just enough.

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And at night, I finally had the chance to try Ana’s enchiladas. After 8 months ;p !! Don’t worry girl, they will always be the best of my life, I waited for them for too long, and it was delicious !

We didn’t do that much on Monday, except that I got to experience driving in Puerto Rico, and we got lost and reached the place when it was closing. So we came back to San Juan to have a nice lunch/early dinner and just chilled at night.IMG_9508 993524_10151749965000555_823001448_n

On Tuesday we started our day by visiting Bacardi House (and got 2 free drinks houhouu!), and then we went to Piñones to have local food and a walk by the sea.

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We had plans for Thursday, but the rain cancelled them, and it’s a good thing I guess, because it gives me an excuse to come back when I am able to 😉 ! So we just went shopping a little and had a puerto-ricain lunch. Yummy food. And we spent the evening at home, in the jaccuzi, with good wine, trying not to realize that it was our last night.

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I had an amazing time, I’m so thankful to Ana for inviting me over, it couldn’t have been better.

She’s probably the sweetest person I’ve met in my entire life, so caring, maybe a bit too much sometimes but that’s what makes her an amazing friend. You know that you are always welcome in France, I’m actually waiting for you now, but I’ll be back one day, and I’ll try to get my skin prepared for my next trip between that 😉 !

Thank you for everything you have done, for everything you gave me, for every moment we spent together, for being there when I needed you and for being such a great friend. And no matter the distance, our friendship is strong enough.

You know how much I love you, how much I care about you and how much I already miss you.

Leaving Albany and heading to what feels like Home.

I had 5 days to spend in Albany when I came back from Chicago.

I thought I had a lot of time to pack and to enjoy the tiny last moments I could have with some of my American friends. Wrong. Went too fast, packing was very challenging, and goodbyes felt weird, as usual.

There were some people I didn’t get to see to say goodbye, just like before going to Chicago. It’s always the same, even when you know it’s ending, it goes faster than expected and it’s hard to plan everything.

I got to see my friend Olivia again: we had met during the first semester, but she graduated in December and had moved to DC for few months. She finally came back to Albany and we got to meet again, and that was really cool. She’s the kind of person with whom I had really great conversations, who made me feel good the very first minutes she talked to me.

I met with Tracy on Tuesday to take some pictures in Washington Park, we had talked about it since the first day she joined UPS, it turned out pretty well, even if as usual, I’m really late on my pictures work haha. It was nice to spend more time with her…

My friend Chanté came over for 2 days, -defying my landlady’s fake rule one more time 😉 !. We got to spend the evening at Olivia’s place, had a lovely home-made dinner (the Chinese breading was the best part…!), I need to ask her her recipe and make it again back home.

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Between this, I was still trying to figure how to pack everything, trying to realize that this what it, more or less.

I met up with Tracy on Thursday, hang out a bit on Campus again and spent few hours in UPS office with Alejandra and the tiny baby for a photoshoot- it felt like an usual day, but at the same time it was the last.

No need to say that I didn’t get any sleep on Thursday night. I was leaving around 10am on Friday to go to Davidsonville, and I was far from being done with packing. I ended up with 2 suitcases, a backpack weighting probably around more than 10kg, a huge bag, my camera bag, my purse and a plastic bag tied to it. So much things. Don’t even ask me why or how I ended up with so much, I still can’t figure it out. But I made it, at 4am, after skyping with my dad to get a bit of support.

And that was it, saying goodbye to my landlords (still can’t understand them being so nice and so weird at the same time), goodbye to my roommates. 3hours of bus down to NYC, 3 hours to Baltimore.

The funniest part was probably when I had to switch from the Trailways bus section to the Greyhound’s inside Port Authority. No need to say that travelers are not that compassionate, but you can always count on New Yorkers inside the Bus Station to help you, especially when it comes to tips.

I made it, after spending 3 hours on the bus to Baltimore next to a guy who wouldn’t stop talking to me when I was just trying to sleep…

 

Rick and Trish were there, waiting for me, and I have to say, their house does feel like home to me. It felt good to be there, being able to rest and just enjoy being with them. And I have to say it again and again, but they are too good to me, but it feels good. Really good.

All the family came over on Sunday, and as usual, it was a very nice day with everyone. Everything started here 8 years ago now, my love for the US, for the English language, and for this amazing family. And God knows how thankful I am to have these people in my life. They changed it for sure, and made it better.

 

It does feel like Home. It feels like family with the advantage of not being family and feeling like even more exceptional.

Drinking good wine, having such good food, being able to bake again in such a great kitchen, I couldn’t be happier that they are letting me stay over.