Julia A. is currently a senior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Francis W. Parker School in Illinois.
Not long ago I was resting on my host family's hammock in our garden. The sun was increasing its warmth, but Kay and I refused to move despite the augmentation of sweat. We have our weekly, if not daily, talks about how incredible our lives are and all we’ve processed, during which I brought up my overwhelming love for the people I've met during this journey. She, while trying to be poetic, quoted the overused but memorable line from Winnie the Pooh:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
While I’ve never liked saying goodbye, a part of me has always enjoyed it. The tight, nearly suffocating hugs, the gentle tears, the fleeting fears and the heart breaking I love you’s. I believe it was the feeling that it was more of a thank you than a goodbye. It is more of a last moment to express someone's meaning to you physically; and as a person with a love language of physical touch, it holds a special place in my heart. Now, as I’m mentally preparing for the return home, I get to reintroduce myself to my friends and family. I get to be the person that I've developed here, just now under different circumstances and in a new environment. I’ve grown so much during my time here that everything in the U.S. is new again, for this time around I get to undergo the challenges and beauties of facing the people and places I left behind with a changed perspective.
It is with this that I can never say goodbye to the life I have here. It will always be a part of me, a chapter, but never sealed. I hope I always revisit, remind myself of and build upon the values I've worked so hard to have. So instead of goodbye, I want to say thank you.
To my host family:
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this journey. I know I came with no experience, but you helped me throughout every bump and were active in showing me all Bretagne has to offer. You’ve been above and beyond as a host family, with your generosity and kindness. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and for a better experience.
To my friends:
Thank you to those who have supported me and contributed to the abundance of memories I have made here. Thank you for teaching me through your actions how I can be better and showing me constant love. This experience would be nothing without you. You guys have impacted me more than you know.
To my parents:
This may be the easiest thank you to write. Thank you for supporting me through every. single. step of this journey. For having so much patience with me; when we don't talk for a few days, when calming me down when I was falling apart during the college admissions process, when trying to plan trips and much more.
Thank you for inspiring my love for travel and for supporting me financially and emotionally along my journeys. You never once have pressured me into doing anything, only supplying me with the certainty that you’ll be proud of me no matter what I do or where I go. Both of you work so incredibly hard to give me the best experiences life can give, and I'm living my best life because of your sacrifices.
And finally thank you SYA for allowing me the space to write about my experience and hopefully impact future SYA students to choose this journey!
- Campus Reporters
- SYA France