As this semester is coming to a close with my last final being tomorrow I can only be thankful for the experiences and people I’ve met these past few months.
Although things have been tough, difficult, and frustrating I’ve also experienced some pretty great things too.
We did a Secret Santa gift exchange with the flat and it was perfect. Despite not following directions for the rules of the gift exchange, despite being gifted a hunk of cheese, and despite Virgil dropping wine on our carpet for the umpteenth time; I love these people!
We had this little exchange on Sunday before hosting a Christmas dinner for friends, several of which will be leaving this semester.
Alex peeking behind me in the picture below will be going home to California, Anel posing in denim will be heading back to Vienna, Mason is heading home to Louisiana to graduate in the Spring, and our sweet Francesca is going to be leaving us to go back to Genoa, Italy. These people (along with others who couldn’t make it) have contributed to some of my favorite memories of my experience that I’m going to cherish forever! Notably, all of the meals we’ve shared. I’ve tested out ALL of my recipes on them. My first Gumbo, my first time making rice and gravy for a crowd, my first red beans and rice on my own, my first thanksgiving dishes, not to mention trying to bake goodies for them with a toaster oven (cue the tears when my lemon bars didn’t work)!
We’ve cooked so many times together and it’s been great. As Tatiana put it, it was a true family Sunday. We had Christmas music blaring, yummy smells coming from all corners of our flat as we prepared dishes, and great company. I even got away with a few country songs. I never realized how much country music makes me think of home. The lyrics make me think of Louisiana: my nanny’s house, my best friends, singing in the car, LSU, the awesome food, my family. The best is when I play Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band most of them know the words and sing-along now!
Things I’ve looked forward to the past semester include:
–Damian coming which I can’t believe how fast time has passed, I get to see him in 7 days!
Also, shout out to my person for –
1). Coming all the way across the ocean to see me
2). Coming back after he leaves to study abroad in Italy for the Spring semester!
– 1:30 PM. Why? Because 1:30 PM is 6:30 AM Louisiana time. I’ve actually counted down the minutes til I can call my mom as soon as she wakes up! When ya girl is desperate for advice on how to wash something, cook something, or edit something it takes everything in me not to call hear any earlier. **Sometimes I can get away with an emergency text a little earlier than this.
–Bus 2 heading to Elmerfrost and Jardin des Deux Rives.
–Monday….only insane people say this. However, this is what Strasbourg has done to me, I starve on Sundays or have to ration toilet paper until Monday because no stores are open.
–The 3rd person… So many times I’ve spent waiting in the library for the 3rd person to show up part of the group in order to get the key to the team room to work on a project!
–My clothes to dry….the further into Winter we get the quicker my clothes dry! I’m loving it!
–Soccer Practice! Since joining the time I’ve become friends with the most wonderful group of girls. After finishing my club and high school soccer career never would I have imagined it would be continued during my year abroad in France. Calling for the ball and cheering on my teammates in French is still a work in progress but I get to vent to these girls about teachers, the struggles of adapting to France, and French grammar. We’ve played 2 games thus far and have one at the end of break in January! I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and the upcoming tournaments. Plus my flatmates and friends are so awesome they came to watch me play at my last game (against Paris it was 1-2, but still a great time)
P.S. We are the Storkettes not the Hurric’EMS
Finally, this past weekend I finally made it to mass in the Cathedral! It’s a gorgeous church and I found it so comforting that I could follow mass and that mass occurrences are universal. There are still misbehaved kids who’s parents try to silently discipline them, still sweet old ladies who sing louder than the rest of us, the same Christmas songs, and the same joy when it’s time to give peace. The only difference was that this mass was a mixture of French, German, and Latin!
Although I’m not with my family this holiday season I feel like the people I’ve been surrounded with have truly embodied the spirit of Christmas and brought it to life for me. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures. Some of us are religious, some of us aren’t, some of us don’t even typically celebrate Christmas. Some of believe in Santa Claus. Some of us believe in Christkind. Some of us get presents on Dec. 6 and the 25th. We also eat different dishes around Christmas time. This has definitely made my Christmas season much more rich.
We may not be blood but we have become a family! I feel so lucky that the world has become such a smaller place thanks to all the people I’ve met. I’m looking forward to my future travels visiting my international friends! Before this trip Europe seemed like a once in a lifetime experience but I know I’ll definitely be coming back after I leave.
Cheers to another semester, the adventure continues!