When I think back to my first week here, a Sunday that looked like today, the feeling was very different. At the end of the first week on European Art Classroom I had a very different mindset.
I sat in my room thinking about my family, my friends at Proctor and what they were doing without me, I sat and thought about everything I was missing out on by being here. That thought might be crazy to those reading this or anyone who imagines being here themselves. If someone told me I would miss home before I came here I would tell them they were crazy too. I mean who doesn't want to come live in France for eight weeks? But it happened. I had a few days of just wanting to go home, go back to a place I was comfortable, back to a place I knew.
Then there was a day that something clicked, I made this home my home. I made Aix my city, and I stopped thinking about what everyone else was doing at home. I mean, what was I really missing out on? Nothing. So I sit here, five weeks later and things have flipped, the last thing I want to do is go home in a few weeks.
I want to capture it all so I can remember it forever. I don't know how I can possibly do that. How can you relive the walk from the bus stop to the cafe we take for literature class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? The smell of fresh baked bread and croissants drifting out of bakeries on every corner, the market selling fresh flowers, fruits, and herbs, the sound of homeless men and women whispering prayers in French to themselves. It is impossible to hold onto it all.
How can I tell my mother about Les Baux, the Medieval village created entirely of stone looking over the Les Alpilles Mountains?
Courtney in van Gogh's bedroom
I want to remember how it felt to stand where Vincent Van Gogh stood in Saint Paul-de-Mausole, the hospital he admitted himself into after being diagnosed with delirium, a place he created some of his most famous paintings.
I can show people pictures, I can tell them what it all looked like, but I cannot relay the feeling I had standing in these places. Absorbing the beauty and history I was in the midst of.
When my father visited a week ago, his girlfriend, Renee asked me how this experience has changed me. I told her firstly that this experience has helped me improve my French, I now know that “Bonjour” means hello and “Merci” means thank you, I was mixing them up a bit at the beginning.
I told her that this experience has taught me to never miss out on a great opportunity no matter how scary it may be to leave things behind. I had to put my life at home on hold for eight weeks, and I am so glad I did. I want to continue to travel, see new places, and meet new people. All things I was unsure of when I left Logan International Airport five weeks ago. This experience has become a part of who I am and I want to embrace every chance I have to further discover who I am. Proctor is great but I think I could bear staying another term in Europe.