SYA 2014-2015 | Photo Summary + Reflection

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instalookingrennes copy
[Posing in town while doing a scavenger hunt during our orientation 9/9/14] 
rennes-22 copy
[Checking out school and the area near my host house 9/6/14]
morhibantrip-1 copy
[The first of many cathedrals on our first trip around Bretagne 9/18/14]
rennesroundup1-1 copy
[Checking out the market in the Place des Lices with Estelle 9/12/15] 
loirevalley-17 copy
[Hanging out on our Loire Valley trip with Marisa 10/20/14] 
loirevalley-18 copy
       [The Chateau de Blois 8/20/14]
loirevalley-26 copy
[The Chateau de Chambord with the whole crew- Gunnar photobombing 10/20/14] 
loirevalley-62 copy
[Chateau de Chenonceau 10/21/14] 
toussaint-1 copy
[Classic Breton Kouign-amann cakes during Toussaints break 10/24/14] 
toussaint-8 copy
[The Saint Malo water during Toussaints Break 10/25/14] 
rennesroundup-1 copy
[La Visitation in Rennes looking festive 10/29/14]
opera (1 of 1) copy
[Headed to the opera for a friend's performance 12/13/14] 
xmasinparis-9 copy
[Christmas in Paris 12/20/15] 
xmasinparis-69 copy
[Seeing "La Source" at the Paris Music House 12/24/15] 
xmasinparis-140 copy
[At the top of the Arc de Triomphe 12/26/15]
winterinparis-48 copy
[The Place des Vosges 2/7/15] 
strasbourg-23 copy
[The Notre Dame Cathedral de Strasbourg 2/11/15]
strasbourg-50 copy
[Strasbourg skyline 2/12/15]
munich-30 copy
[Munich/the Glockenspiel 2/14/15] 
munich-56 copy
[Donut heaven in Munich 2/15/15]
berlin-12 copy
[The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin 2/16/15]
berlin-113 copy
[The East Side Gallery in Berlin 2/18/15]
berlin-166 copy
[The main cathedral in Berlin covered in bubbles 2/17/15] 
printemps -39 copy
[A week's span in Rennes of beautiful blooming flowers 3/26/15]
paysbasque -18 copy
[Arcachon during spring break with school 4/11/15]
paysbasque -67 copy
[Spring break on the beaches of Guéthary in the Basque Country 4/12/15] 
paysbasque -91 copy
[Strolling around Biarritz 4/12/14] 
barcelone-13 copy
[First day in Barcelona 4/17/15]
barcelone-62 copy
[Relaxing by the port in Barcelona 4/17/15]
ibiza-41 copy
[The Old Town in Ibiza 4/19/15] 
ibiza-47 copy
[The Old Town in Ibiza 4/17/15] 
ibiza-76 copy
[Clear waters in Ibiza 4/19/15] 
mallorca-51 copy
[Floaties + sand at our hotel in Mallorca 4/22/15] 
mallorca-135 copy
[The mountainous area of Soller 4/24/15] 
mallorca-150 copy
[The beach in Soller 4/24/15] 
lafin-37 copy
[Our group 'Lancelot' during our mini graduation 5/21/15] 
lafin-53 copy
[Graduates! 5/21/15]
lafin-55 copy
[Perusing our yearbooks 5/21/15] 
lafin-60 copy
[The last trip to town 5/21/15] 
normandy-4
[D-day Museum in Caen 5/22/15/]
normandy-46
[Last days with Liv 5/22/15] 
normandy-64
[Normandie 5/22/15] 
normandy-71
[The Pointe du Hoc 5/23/15] 

     Roughly 9 months ago, I boarded a plane from Logan airport in Boston to CDG in Paris. It had been months upon months leading up to the actual departure. The shrieks of excitement blended with the, "You're so brave remarks!!", and the idea of studying abroad that I had become so wrapped up in was coming to the surface. In my mind, there was only a world of endless possibilities beyond the Air France cabin doors, and a junior year abroad became more and more appealing. It wasn't until I plopped onto my bed in my vintage style room at my host house, with fatigue dragging down my already overweight suitcases, that it all really hit me. I'm still not quite sure what "it" is- perhaps it is France, Europe, the thrill of traveling, the French language, or new people...or maybe everything foreign to my old sometimes clouded perspective. This year brought along many things that felt like givens to me at the time, but now I realize they were small joys that not everyone can have or is familiar with. In the span of 9 months, I was given each day abroad as an opportunity to see the world with my new found friends, slowly but surely master a language, be integrated into a family unlike my own, and truly learn about this "Europe" I had so often vacationed, but never really lived. Initially, I was so against the idea of a "transformation" that this experience would bring along- that being said, I didn't have too many expectations. As much as the idea of being a new person can make me want to cringe, I truly have developed into a better version of my self. The knowledge I now have and will carry with me forever is something priceless. While there were obvious steps along the way that were less pleasant, like language obstacles or simple frustration, each step in a new city, from Paris to Berlin to Barcelona, made the minor setbacks worth it. Upon arriving home, I've been asked rather often if I wish that I had been home this past year. As much as things from home were missing from my everyday comfort and routine, the things I was able to realize in distancing myself from my home of 17 years helped bring the "bigger picture" of everything to clarity. 

      I would like to thank you all, from my best friends to my family to my #1 blog readers (y'all rock!!), for continuously keeping up with my blog posts this past year. I've loved nothing more than sharing my many pictures on the blog from my travels, as well as sharing some of my day to day thoughts to correspond. Each time I received a comment on here, Instagram, or even an occasional email, I was overjoyed to see that you guys were enjoying all of these travel posts. While I post on my blog not only for my future self, my readers play an important roll in this little thing we've got going here, so thank you so much. 

      It has been a little less than two weeks since I've come back to the states, and I've been keeping busy by seeing my wonderful friends (who threw me the cutest party!), unhappily meeting with my SAT tutor, and practicing my driving. The other day, I read a quote by Yolande Chéné that reads,"Ce qu'il y a de bon dans les départs ? Ils commencent le retour.” It means, "What is the good in departures? That they start the return." I probably poorly translated that quote, but you get the gist. I'll be back in France, more specifically the Provence area, at the end of June with my mom, which will be a short but exciting return to one of my favorite places. Despite going back to France in a different sort of setting, it'll feel great to be frolicking in the lavender fields with the French language running through my ears again. Thanks again everyone! My Q&A video will be coming next. xoxox 

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