Jun 17, 2010

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard

Yesterday, at 1:00 PM, I finished class, walked out of le lycée, and got on the bus to go home. For the very last time. Never have I so much hated the start of summer vacation. Because being out of school means that the end is very, very close. It means that in 3 weeks I'll be getting on an airplane and leaving every one here behind. But I'm not ready for that yet. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I'm not ready for it to end. For the first time I spent a bus ride home the last day of school in tears.

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.



  1. You are very strong. You knew you would have to leave it, but it didn't stop you from doing it.

  2. I love you, Sophie. and I'm so proud of what you've done and how much you've learned. Part of me wants you to stay in France and be happy forever, and the other part wants to meet the new Sophie.


  3. love you, sophie. and i second christy. and you're an inspiration. that's all.
    <3 <3 <3

  4. chere sophia

    J'ai suivi tes aventures avec passion tout au long de l'année. mais je ne suis pas d'accord avec tout. Rester en France une année demande de réels efforts, ce n'est pas toujours aussi merveilleux que ce tu as raconté.
    Dans la région où j'habite, de nombreuses familles sont inquiètes à cause de la crise, et peu ouvertes aux autres. Nous n'avons pas la possibilité de passer nos vacances à la neige. la jeune fille que j'ai accueillie s'est beaucoup ennuyé ici. De plus, elle ne s'interessait pas beaucoup à la culture française, donc nous n'avions pas grand chose à échanger. Notre association locale n'a pas organisé de week end en Ardèche. Les 3 accueillies de la région n'ont pas eu envie de se voir et faire des choses ensemble au cours de l'année.
    Tu as été très privilégiée et tu le mérites car tu es une jeune fille sensible,travailleuse, curieuse. Mais je voudrais dire aux jeunes qui se préparent à partir avec AFS qu'il leur faudra faire preuve de patience, courage et imagination ....
    Bon retour