My Moveable FeastParis, Summer 2012

As I walked home Tuesday at 12:30 a.m. after my last night out in Paris, “Yeah” by Usher was stuck in my head.

Damnit Amanda, this isn’t appropriate. You should be humming some sob-worthy song because you’re leaving tomorrow, I thought to myself. I tried to think of sad songs that would be the perfect backdrop as I attempted to use this final walk home from the Tour Maubourg metro stop to my quaint apartment so that I could produce some deep thoughts regarding my time abroad. My self-inflicted bullying didn’t seem to do the trick, though. Well, not until the next day.

During my travel home Wednesday, I would’ve done anything to have “Yeah” stuck in my head to help stop myself from crying in my apartment elevator, on the street outside, or most notably, on the bathroom floor on the plane. I felt like I was watching a clip of some heartbroken woman who was going through the “everything is going wrong in my life” movie scene, except that woman was me and I couldn’t sit through a mere 15 minutes to see the happy ending. When I got back to my seat after my low moment on the bathroom floor, I ate six Ladurée macarons to console myself. However, after realizing that I had consumed 15 euro worth of French delicacies that I had intended to bring back for family and friends, that sweet taste in my mouth became cloying. I hadn’t felt so low in months.

Yet when I got off the plane and started walking through the Detroit airport, it hit me: I knew why “Yeah” had been stuck in my head the night before. I thought back to my weekend in Amsterdam, where I had found myself dancing on the stage to no other song but “Yeah.” It was at that moment that I remembered how many great experiences I had while I was abroad. It wasn’t something to be sad about, but instead, something to be grateful for. I finally left my “heartbroken woman” clip in the movie in my head; I could see the happy ending. While I wasn’t there yet, I could see it before me.

When I landed in Fort Wayne, I saw two of my closest friends (thanks Dylan and Drew!) waiting for me at the gate with a welcome home sign and can of coke, at which point I remembered all the great things that are here for me at home. I still had a lingering feeling of sadness in my heart, but I also felt relief. While I was no longer living in one of the greatest cities in the world, à mon avis, I was in a city with so many people that I love and care about.

So I’m glad “Yeah” was stuck in my head on my last night in Paris instead of a sad song. While leaving a place you love is sad, you can’t look at it that way. You have to look at the experience as a whole and be grateful for it. That, and I know I’ll be back one day. This isn’t the last you’ll see of me, France.


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