the one where i get deep

warning: longggg post ahead, full of big sentences and deep thoughts.
if you just come for the pictures, turn back now.

it's 1:17 a.m and i'm not really sure why i'm still awake.

when i wake up in six and a half hours, it'll be my last day in france.
my last day walking to class, of enjoying break time with a friend i would have never crossed paths with if it wasn't for this place, of the beautiful beach with another wonderful friend, and of delicious, heavenly, life changing nutella gelato.
i'll be getting on a plane early saturday morning and slowly making my way home.
back to sweet, sweet america.
back to work, and school, and driving everywhere, and knowing exactly what's in all of my food, and finally having clean feet, and most importantly, back to my family.

i made myself two little travel journals to write in during this trip, because i knew i'd want to remember every little thing, and i wrote in it tonight, but that wasn't enough.
i stepped off of that long flight from JFK to Nice absolutely terrified.
up until then, i was so excited i couldn't stand it. everyone would ask me if i was worried, and my answer was "no", because i really wasn't. i'm not a worrier. i'm carefree and optimistic and  jumping into a 2 month program in a foreign country where i knew absolutely no one sounded exciting to me.
it sounded exhilarating.

but as i was walking towards customs, i started thinking 
"what if there's no one here to pick me up? what if i paid all this money and came all the way here, just to be stranded in an airport in the south of france? or if this is real and i do get picked up, what if there's no one cool to be friends with? what if i have to hang out by myself for 8 weeks? what if i get food poisoning from some weird french food and die in a foreign country all by myself?  what if i don't know as much french as i thought and i get bad directions from someone and end up lost on the side of the road and get kidnapped and tortured and murdered and they don't find my body until the end of july, when my family's finally wondering why they haven't heard from me? or what if i just absolutely hate it here?"
[[my one little worry bone obviously kicked in, along with my zillion wild imagination bones]]
but there was no turning back, and i wanted to find out, so i picked up my two giant suitcases, waited for the program director, and jumped in headfirst.

and guess what?
it was one of the best decisions i've ever made.
there were a million reasons why i shouldn't have come here:
i was giving up summer with my loved ones and leaving my little sister behind. i was going against everything my dad ever taught me about being responsible, by giving up a full time job where i could have saved up a bunch of money, instead opting to go into major debt for 8 weeks of fun. i would be losing my cell phone service, therefore giving up the only really reliable form of communication benny and i had. i would be going to school during the summer, which has always been one of my big no-no's. i knew absolutely no one else coming here. blah blah blah.
but this was something i wanted to do.
i'd wanted to do it since middle school.
i'd dreamed about it since middle school.
and i sure as hell didn't want to look back at my life in 10, 20, 50 years and wonder why i never just did it.
i wanted to be the cool mom that told her babies stories about the summer she lived on the riviera.
and i wanted to prove to myself that i could do it.

well, i did it.
and i'm damn proud of myself for it.
i decided to say "who cares" to all of those reasons why i shouldn't come, and "watch me" to all of those people who said it wouldn't work out, and i got my ass out of my comfort zone and became a French girl for 2 months.
i know where to get the best, cheapest fresh baguette. i know which corners the nice bums sit at and which ones the mean ones sit at. i know how to tell off the creepy guys who yell out nasty things as i walk by, and how to give directions to the tourists. i'm a beach tanning pro and have learned how to pack for a whole weekend of traveling in one tiny backpack.  i even bought those crazy European pants and am planning on wearing them on my flight home.

i've experienced life outside of small-town america,
or even big-city america, and learned so much about another culture in the process. 
 i've learned even more about myself.
that right there is something to be proud of.

-wildchild


p.s- bonus points to the few of you who actually read the whole thing to the end. lemme know who you are and i'll send you some air kisses. they're very French.

p.p.s- double bonus points to those of you who read the title of my post and immediately thought "that's what he said".

8 comments:

aubreebschmitt said...

i did read the whole thing. and i'm proud of you too jack. :o)

Madeline said...

air kisses for moi :)

"...and i sure as hell didn't want to look back at my life in 10, 20, 50 years and wonder why i never just did it."

Goes for SO MUCH IN THIS LIFE!
I know we've never met, but so proud of you girl. I know those feelings, the adventurous WATCH ME feelings mixed with a healthy dose of "OH MY GOSH WHAT DID I JUST DO" :)

Way to be.

Aunt Leta said...

Oh, Jackie, everything you said in this blog is exactly what I have been thinking about you and this trip!!! You definitely took giant steps out of your comfort zone!!!
Uncle Mark and I are also very proud of you!!! Yes, we both read it to the end. So we earned those French air kisses!!! Can't wait to see you and hear about your trip in person!
Love, Aunt Leta

renee jennifer said...

i love this quote! & i just came across your blog and just thought i'd stop by to compliment you on how lovely it is :)

amy said...

I get bonus points. This post is beautiful- i adore...x


sweetness xx
hope to hear from you*!
amyflyingakite.com

luckyenoughblog.com said...

love the ee cummings quote.

xo, lizzie

Katya said...

i love this post! i read the whole thing too :) , and it was like everything i wanted to say when i left france. even down to the crazy european pants to wear home on the airplane, hahaha.

Lauren said...

Cousin,

I LOVED THIS POST! Hell yeah to doing what you want and seeing the world! I'm proud of you too!

~Lauren