When I think of this past semester, all I can do is sigh and smile a grateful smile for having gotten through it. And now, I’m about to go on another amazing, unpredictable adventure to Montpellier, France this coming semester. To sum it up, God has blessed me so much this year.
I’ll give you as painless and as quick a recap of this semester as possible, just for some context.
Numero uno (mixing some Spanish in here, to shake things up), I subletted a wonderful house in Elon with my good friend since freshman year, Sudie. It was certainly another one of those college lessons of extreme independence. We paid our own water, electric and internet bills each month, checked the mail in our very own mailbox (probably more exciting to me than normal), bought groceries and cooked most days because we opted for no meal plans, and oh yes, we still managed to get to our classes and jobs/internships!
Then came a speed bump in my semester when I got mono. I missed a bit more than a week of classes and was pretty tired all the time, but I didn’t want to let that stop me from having a great semester and seeing my friends. Initially, I wore myself out. I continued to do most of the things I normally did and put on a happy face, but I was in way over my head with schoolwork.
A few days after I found out about having mono, I got in my first car accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt! I was car-less for a while, and it was the hardest thing for me to learn to ask for rides from my friends (who, by the way, are AMAZING and let me borrow their cars and carpool on numerous occasions).
I quickly came to realize that all these seemingly horrible experiences were God’s obvious way of showing me I needed to slow down and soak up the relationships I have in my life and with Him. Because of all my mono-plagued down time, I discovered a lot more new music (here’s to kitchen dance sessions to M83 and Ellie Goulding!), renewed my love of baking, wrote in my journal a lot more, and when I look back on those journal entries, they all revolve around the simple fact that stared me in the face all semester: God is good, life is good, it’s all good.
But real talk, I’m blessed beyond belief. I have such a supportive family who, despite my long ride on the struggle bus this semester, still thinks I’m a lovable gal. I’m in an amazing small group at Elon that I’ve been in since freshman year, and those girls are some of my best friends (future bridesmaids alert??). I also paired with my friend Emily to start a small group of freshman girls who I loved getting to know, and I’ll miss them so much next semester. I have such close friends both at home and at school who I’m lucky I get to see frequently (movie nights!), and a second family at Camp Gravatt, my summer home and employer the past 4 years. And a really neat guy I met at Camp Gravatt is now my really sweet boyfriend Frank, who is a wonderful human being I can’t say enough good things about.
And with the new year rapidly approaching, I can safely say I’m ready to go to Montpellier. Don’t let the phrasing fool you. I’m not “ready to get out of here” by any means! I’m ready in the sense that I feel prepared, ready in the sense that I’ve had enough life experiences the past year to last me for a good long while. I am going to miss everyone on this side of the Atlantic so much, but technology will hopefully make them seem like they’re never too far, and I know we’ll pick up right where we left off when May rolls around.
And so much of being abroad is being there, so I want to do a lot of that too. I don’t want to try to become a French person, I just want to immerse myself in their culture and learn as much about life there as possible. In the often quoted words of Mark Twain, I want to “Explore. dream. discover.” Earlier tonight, I Skyped my friend Alexis, who just got back from a semester in Lyon, France. She told me to have no expectations for any part of my study abroad experience, and I plan to take her advice and live it up!
Bonne nuit (goodnight) for now, friends!
P.S. Apologies for the length! My blog posts will be a lot less wordy in the future. I leave Jan 2nd, folks…. let the games begin!