Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Politics and Weekends in Paris

Bonjour,

It's Day 99 abroad and I have a mere 48 days to go before my feet touch down on american soil once more. It's strange to think that I have finished two-thirds of my time here. Rewatching my old video journals, I recall the doubt and isolation I felt in my first few weeks here. Now, as I look ahead at my quickly approaching journey home, I predict that I might cry to leave this place. Caen has become a second home to me. What I once thought was a huge unknown city has become familiar and even homely.

I left the U.S. as the fire of politics flamed on every news channel and flooded my Facebook news feed, and now, I see a similar situation as
France undergoes its own political power struggle. France held its first election this past Sunday. There were eleven total candidates. The two candidates with the highest percent of support moved on. These candidates were Emmanuel Macron (24% support) and Marine Le Pen (21.3% support). Though I do not know much about politics in general, I see quite clearly a division of support. Many refer to Le Pen as the French Donald Trump, which is a negative comparison (in case you weren't aware that many French people detest Trump). The next and final election will be May 7th. No matter the outcome, history will inevitably be made considering the political party each candidate belongs to.

I share this information because living abroad has taught me, above all else, that I am woefully ignorant. Living in my little corner of the world in East Tennessee, I was blind to the world outside of what directly affected me. Ignorance is not something to be embarrassed of if one is willing to acknowledge its existence and work against it. I have fallen in love with France, every part of it. It is not only the crepes, detailed architecture, and public pianos that I will miss when I return to the U.S. The people, their beautiful language, and their cultural design continues to intrigue me. I know I will miss it all.

Despite my inevitable sadness to leave, I am excited as well. I am curious to see what my fresh perspective from living abroad will change concerning my home in Tennessee. I know it will allow me to see things with new eyes. It will be an adventure on its own to return. Today I video-chatted with my sweet two-year-old nephew and talked about the list of activities we were looking forward to doing together upon my arrival such as jumping on his new trampoline, blowing bubbles, going for ice cream, building a pillow fort, and swimming in the pool.

Before my fort-loving, bubble-appreciating self gets too homesick, I'd like to stop and reassure you that my remaining days will be well-spent. Aside from studying for the exams (beaucoup d'etudes), I am also planning my last bits of adventuring here in Europe for a while. Though no train or plane tickets have been purchased and no hostel beds have been reserved, it is my new goal to make it to Italy! Until our summer "vacances" and my free time to travel such a distance, I have a weekend trip to Paris planned in a mere three days! Aside from this, I have also signed up for an excursion to Disneyland here in a few weeks.

It's safe to say that I have plenty to keep me occupied for the remaining 48 days, but I look forward to what lays on the other side of that 9-hour international flight back home. A bientot! -Albrianna

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