All right, suitcase, it’s come to this. It’s just you and me now.
We’ve been through a lot together. You’ve taken your fair share of shampoo-bottle explosions, customs snoopers and disastrous journeys through the ever-mysterious area behind the giant doggy-door in the baggage claim. But this thing we’re going into is a different animal—we’re about to be confronted with several more mysteries, and the questions are sprinting through my mind.
Do I have the right kind of plug adapter? How do you say, “I am hopelessly lost” in French? Will I like my host family? How do I get French people to like me? Why am I talking to a suitcase?
Leaving for Paris in a handful of days is a surreal feeling, and it’s (clearly) been taking a toll on me. Running around the city attempting to fit in one more dentist appointment, gathering the right prescription medication, avoiding packing like it’s the plague—I wouldn’t even wish it on a Nickelback fan.
But, amid the bittersweet “goodbye” dinners and coffee dates, the promise of Parisian life pulls me through. It’s hard to believe that my departure date has finally arrived. When I first got my acceptance email, the idea of living in Paris sounded like a scene out of a Woody Allen movie (you know the one,) laced with fresh baguettes and ruggedly handsome classmates asking to show me around the city. Although that may be case, I know that this semester will be one of my greatest adventures but also one of my greatest challenges, and my anticipatory thoughts are a little more realistic now (I’m still expecting the fresh baguettes, though.)
I would like to soften the blow of immersion, so I’ve been trying to read French news outlets, listening to French radio and attempting to name everyday items in French (you’d be surprised how much vocabulary you forget from lower-level language courses… “cuillère… spoon. No, knife. No… AGH.”) I watched this trailer for the movie “Elf” in French, and I only understood about a 2/3 of it—and that’s a film I’ve already seen!
But I won’t sell myself too short, I will survive. I will have an incredible time. I will miss my family and my friends. I will miss Madison in the springtime. I will get fat off of almond croissants. I will (hopefully) become a better student, a better writer, a better and more interesting person.
And you, suitcase, I’m going to attempt to fit my life into you for the next 8 months. No griping and no cold feet—we’ve got a date with Charles de Gaulle.