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The End

Written on: Wednesday May 30th, 2007

A journal entry from: Rouen Exchange

Sitting here in the Paris airport during my fading hours in France, I figure it?s as good a time as any to reflect upon my exchange.  I think being here, about to leave the country I?ve called home for the past five months, is really helping it sink in that I won?t return to Rouen in a week, won?t travel to yet another intriguing destination (although, Canada is pretty enticing at the moment) and most importantly, won?t be eating any crepes or croissants of the same quality for a long time.  I must say, it wasn?t until this moment that I have truly been able to appreciate all the experiences I was able to have.  Never before in my life (and likely never again) will I have the freedom to roam Europe as I please.  Going on exchange was a once in a lifetime occurrence when I could completely put my life on hold.  I can?t say how much of a break it was to have 5 months away from real life at home.  No stresses about building my career, networking, volunteering, and, lets be honest, school.  I am forever grateful to the French for their slack schooling.  I know that as soon as I step off the plane, all these and other stresses will rush back.  Who knows, maybe being away from it all will make me better able to cope with them.

After returning from the East, the rest of my time in France was spent organizing for my departure and getting in a few last trips to Paris.  One Friday, Hannah and I caught the train in and went on the free walking tour of Paris.  I felt that, after living in such close proximity to such famous sights, it might be nice to know a bit of a story behind them.  For example, did you know that the banks of the Seine in Paris are a protected UNESCO world heritage site?  I didn?t.  Later that day, we were going to be very Parisian and take in a fashion show.  It was only 30 minutes in duration but I definitely got my fix for high fashion.  So glamorous!

Celeste, Hannah and I still had Giverny (where Monet lived for part of his life and also where his water lilies were painted) on our itinerary.  Unfortunately, we never made it due to weather.  We went to Paris Saturday morning (helping Celeste lug all her bags as she was leaving the following Monday morning).  We did some shopping, getting last minute souvenirs, etc. on Les Grands Boulevards as well as in the Latin quartier.  I checked out the bouquiestes and got some cool posters.  That evening, after grabbing a delicious kebab, we headed to the Champs de Mars with some wine and a mille feuille that I had picked up earlier.  It was the best way I can think of to spend of to my last night in Paris.  We watched the Effiel tower light up one last time and then headed back to Latin quartier for a bit of night life.  I was excited to be going to a bar called ?The Great Canadian? but our plans changed last minute and we went to an Irish pub instead.  The next morning, Hannah went to Versailles and Celeste and I wandered our way through a fantastic market (where we met David Lebowitz, a celebrity to us ? he writes a blog about chocolate in Paris,) the Marais, past Centre Pompidou and to another market.  After we went to the Seine and got paninis from a place a friend from home had recommended.  It must not have been the right place because it wasn?t that great.  Then, it was time for me to head back to Rouen ? leaving Celeste behind, for good.  My adventures weren?t over though because I ran into another infraction on the train that I managed to talk my way out of but decided I probably shouldn?t ride the train again, in case I?d been black listed.

And that basically brings up to here and now, at the airport.  The last week was spent packing, studying, etc. 

Although I am very sad to go, I am thrilled to be going home and seeing all the people I have missed so much over the past five months. 

Goodbye France, its been the time of my life.