Sunday, April 30, 2017

This is an update, not a reflection.

This is an update, not a reflection.
'Julie, you haven’t posted a blog since the start of April! What have you been up to?' Well, after my trip to Venice, I finished up my academic year in Strasbourg with a week of an intensive course then finals. My exams went well, but I won’t know my official grades until June. Thanks France.

The weekend after my finals was Easter weekend, and I spent the whole weekend playing soccer. The University of Strasbourg has this tournament every year, The Tigers, where the sports teams from each faculty (Business, Sciences, etc.) play each other in this big event at the end of the year. We played well, and had a ton of fun supporting the other teams including our own coach's soccer team. The last day there was a party to celebrate, and it was really fun to go out with some of the girls on my team. This isn't the first time it's come in handy to recognize that you don't have to speak the same language to dance together, although I have to say the girls all speak English with me, and I definitely should've worked harder to come their way with French this year as well.

For the past week, I’ve been traveling. I went to Marseille, the Verdon Gorge in France, Barcelona, Madrid (and Alcalá de Henares, where Kelsey and Mary have been studying this semester), and finally finished my travels with a couple days in Lisbon with Francisca. In Lisbon, I saw Tomás (another best friend from Stras last semester) and caught up with other friends I had met before, but the sweetest bit of this visit was definitely the trip out to Setúbal for dinner at Francisca's home with her parents. I’ll post about all of these trips with pictures later! There’s a lot to say.

I got home to Strasbourg yesterday, and one of my teammates invited me for a coffee at her place. It was such a thoughtful gesture, and it was special for me to have that last day with her. After that, I studied for and then took a final for my online class back home. It went very well, and then I immediately started getting ready for a dinner with the soccer team. I was originally a little bit surprised when Coach suggested a goodbye dinner, but now I’m so glad he did. It was so special to have that last meal with them. I have a lot to say about this team, and how they enhanced my exchange, but I’m going to write a separate post about that as well, but for now just know leaving the team is easily the hardest part about leaving this school. 

Today is Sunday, April 30th. 
It’s only significant because it means I leave Europe tomorrow.

I’ve been living here since August, and I leave tomorrow. (Whoa.) I’m ready. I’m so excited to see my family, but I’m also heartbroken to leave. Call me dramatic. I probably am.

I’ve been calling my parents a lot. I miss them. I’m so beyond excited to be greeted with their big hugs in the airport (even though Momma hates affection), and then go home and relax in the space with my family where I feel most loved.

Right now, I’m listening to old country music, and imagining driving north on I-75 to move into my college house and see Erica and hang out on that porch with her. You may have noticed that it seems like all of my closest BG girlfriends are studying abroad this semester... and you'd be right... except for Erica. We all totally ditched her. It's the home stretch girl! Keep hanging in there, and then this summer we'll have all of the fun! 

I’m also giddy to find a good book, and get up to the lake to see my family in Michigan. I really miss the spoiled life of the lake... rolling out of bed whenever I want with the only goal of getting coffee and deciding which perfect reading spot I'll curl into that day, or if I'll get out on the water in the afternoon. There are some comforts that can’t be articulated.

Okay, that's all. I’m going to go enjoy my beautiful city for one last day.

Love, Jules
I think I'll even miss Jimmy's.

P.S. I’m 95% packed, 98% ready to go, but not 100% ready to say goodbye to these friends. [Insert tear-streaked faces here]

P.S.S. While writing this blog, I got the notification to check into my Delta flight... that means it's less than 24 hours until takeoff!

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