This year has been the most spectacular year of my life. I've met so many incredible people. I've fallen in love with a country and a culture. I've made new friends all over the world, friends I feel like I've known my whole life. I've grown close to another family, une autre vie.
And I've changed. I've changed in ways that I can't express in words. I'm not even sure if some of the changes are visible, but I'm sure that I'm not the same person I was when I left. But I'm happier with myself now than I ever was. My AFS experience let me become whoever I wanted to be. Because when you're doing something like this, you realize that changing yourself is not a bad thing, that by adjusting your dreams and projects can become reality.
I'm not sure how this post is going to be interpreted by who ever reads it, but just know that this is a seriously heart-felt reflection. It's hard for me to write this because in writing it I have to admit to myself that it's all real, that I'm honestly going to have to leave. That's where my title comes from. It's not that AFS is so difficult, it's not that living abroad is too challenging, it's just that the ending is killing me. If you're a Coldplay fan, you probably know the next line in the song, a line which taps into my deepest desire right now:
Oh, take me back to the start
But since you're reading this for hearing about France, you need to be encouraged to come. And that should be easy. My last few weeks have been amazing. I had my first piano recital in years. I played Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, and was the only person that played from memory. My friends came to see me, and we hung around the village until midnight or so. I also had my school concert, which was fun. It was probably the biggest concert I've had. We were 200 on stage, we did 2 nights, and each night 400 people came to see us. It was really cool. Other than that I've had a few sleep-overs, went to a few parties, and have spent alot of time with my friends. Last weekend was the last AFS weekend, and we all went down to Ardèche to have a few days of canoeing and escalade/spéléo/accrobranch (rock climbing/caving/ropes course-ing). Quite fun. If you had a video of us before and a video of us now we'd all be a little chubbier in the new video, but also alot more open and confident. that's France for you.
And the three weeks that are left are going to be amazing. I've got visits, concerts, parties, and adventures instore for every moment.
The other day my friend had this as her status update (in French, of course):
Life is like a roller coaster. It takes up by surprise and it goes very fast. Really very fast. There are ups, downs, and above all large drops that terrify us. Sometimes we find our selves upside down without really knowing what we're doing there and what direction we're going in. With out noticing we're already far away the ride is almost over.
While looking for the author, I came across another roller coaster quote:
Life can be like a roller coaster...And just when you think you've had enough,and your ready to get off the ride and take the calm, easy merry-go round...You change your mind, throw you hands in the air and ride the roller coaster all over again.
That's my life in a nut shell.
I'll post one or two last updates before I leave, but I need to stop before I get too depressed.