Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quatre jours

I've been dreaming about this since I was in kindergarten. It seemed like a given, or a milestone that I would eventually reach because it just had to be in my destiny. Studying abroad in Paris is something that I set in my path but, until now, I had been taking it for granted.

I had visited Paris once before several years ago, in a whirlwind tour through six European countries in 20 days. France did not receive the special attention it deserved, so I plan to do it justice.

You hear all of these amazing things - it's the center of fashion, the food is fresh and rich in taste, the wine is unbelievable, the language is like eighth- and sixteenth notes dancing off a staff, the artwork is diverse and plentiful. My biggest fear as I am about to embark on this journey to Paris is that I won't live up to it's expectations for me.

It has taken me until today, four days before my departure, to realize that I am leaving. And not for Boston, but for another country. Another continent. I have yet to earnestly start packing, I have yet to say my goodbyes, and I have yet to really grasp the reality of this dream come true.

I can't really place my finger on what's holding me back. Am I afraid of being so far out of my comfort zone? Am I afraid of missing those I leave behind - my supportive family, my loving boyfriend, my loyal friends? Am I afraid that when I get back to Boston, everything is going to have changed - and I will have changed, too - so much so that I can't integrate back into my old life? All of the above. But, I need to put this all behind me because this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. It fits every cliché and I don't hate it.

When I set foot off that plane, I cease to be simply Gabie, the BU student with dreams of Paris. I am going to be Gabrielle, the Parisienne-in-training with the City of Light in my palm and a desire to discover in my belly. I call this blog "Demain il fera jour," or "Tomorrow is another day." This will be my motto as I explore Paris - tomorrow is another day to learn about the city, the culture, the people and, most importantly, myself.
"Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I'd never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn't know what. Maybe it was something I'd forgotten or something I've been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me." - Paris, Je t'aime

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