Saying Goodbye to a New Home

That’s a wrap, folks. I’m back stateside and even had a few days to spend with my family in Germany before flying back to be in a wedding. A little under a month has gone by and I am updating this blog for a final time – at least about my year in France.

For those who are looking for more travel pictures, skip down to the next bolded section where I share my last three trips.

The title above describes my last month pretty well. While I finally had the occasion to travel given that restrictions were being lifted, spending almost every weekend away from Lyon was bittersweet as I knew my days there were counted.

On the other hand, being aware of just how little time I had left made me enjoy every single second, every sunset picture from the window of my tiny apartment (I won’t subject you to those here), and every step walking across campus. The same campus that I had found to be so ugly at the start of the year was admittedly still moche, but it was my home – and my workplace (as I got pretty used to spending multiple hours a day in the lab). The strangers that had welcomed me so warmly ten months prior were now no longer strangers – they were and still are my friends.

Leaving Lyon was easier than I thought it would be. I have a lot of experience with moving from one place to another, and I have also witnessed multiple friends study abroad – whom I met before and during their respective experiences. These two things definitely prepared me from the start: I always had the end in mind.

Still, who wouldn't miss this atmosphere?

Even as I had a lot of goodbyes to say (pictures from one of those meals below), the smiles and laughs were a lot more frequent than the few tears. I know – or at least hope – that I will see many of these people again: my fellow exchange students, who are among the few that will understand what it was like to do an exchange in the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic, my teachers and classmates, whom I got to know better only so late in the year, and my closest French friends – c’était pas mal, non?

What is a lot tougher is looking back now on this chapter of my life, knowing that it, a years-long dream of mine, is over. However, it ended on a cliff-hanger (I started dating a Frenchman right before I left) and the next chapter is looking pretty good so far. I’ll have to figure out if and what to share going forward, but I want to keep this up – let me know what you think!

As for now... Au revoir, Lyon!

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