Pictures from my last day with my French friends when my mom and brother visited.
Three years ago I landed on American soil after seven months of living in France.
Three years have passed since my friends came to pick me up at the airport and I didn't quite believe it was real. Since we screamed and cried and hugged in an airport lobby because it had been so long and so much had changed.
Seven months changes a lot.
Three years changes more.
Three years ago, I had already accomplished the dream that I had been working towards for 10 years of my life. I didn't have a new dream; I was happy to be home but my language and my heart was still captured in French. (It still is, but to a lesser extent.)
Three years have passed since I was last in Europe. Slightly more than that since I said goodbye to "my Frenchies" and embarked on a short vacation to Italy with my mother and brother. More than three years since I wandered through Southern France with near-strangers that are kind of family and now-distant friends. Since filming silly videos with my friends and dancing through La Villa Aurélienne. Since hanging out in MacDo and Quick and getting sunburnt on the beach of La mer Méditerranée.
Picture from a picnic my class threw me before I left France.
I find myself looking through those pictures and blog posts and thinking of all those experiences and I fall in love with those experiences all over again. Or I feel the sting of loneliness as I read about those rough days when I felt like I was falling apart. I re-watch the video I made to celebrate five months in France again and tear up as I remember those friends and I think about all the stories and pictures that I never shared here. (There are so many)
I think about who I was then. How I felt out of touch with the United States and my friends on either side of the ocean at different points; those moments of clarity on long train rides alone and when goofing off with people whose names I probably never pronounced exactly right.
And then there's now.
I'm rediscovering myself and my strength and challenging myself all over again. I've found a new dream to pursue at long last and I am pursuing it the best I know how.
Life is strange and time passes too quickly. I'm not sure where I will be seven months from now, much less three years from now. I wonder if I will still maintain the friendships I have had for years, or if I will re-establish the closeness I once had with my seven month friends.
That being said, it's time to share again.