The Last Blog Abroad: Five Months

Monday. We leave Monday.
We will fly out of France on Wednesday (or tomorrow as I finish this blog) but we leave Angers, our home for the past five months, on Monday.

I was sitting in our café and it just hit me that it would probably be the last time we would chat with the sweet Irish owner Mary, last time we would sit for an hour or two sipping tea and nibbling on scones.

It was my last day volunteering at the library, attempting to help little kids and a high school student have a better understanding of English. The next day Colton would finish his semester with his final final exam.
I’ve spent the past 25 days—ever since we got back from our Christmas Trip—thinking of packing. How we would pack, what things we were leaving behind, would everything fit OK? I had already packed all of our souvenirs and gifts into my carry-on suitcase.

Ever since January began, it seems all conversations have turned to our departure back to the United States. Are you excited to be going home? Did you enjoy it here? What have you missed most? What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you go back home? What’s the food that you’ve missed the most?
I’m ready for the next chapter in our life, ready for the convenience of being in our native country (I keep forgetting that people speak English there), where things are a bit more predictable.

I will miss our lifestyle here though. I love that we don’t drive (thank you Austin, Texas for making me happy to be away from a car) and that our grocery store is just around the corner (saved me during a cooking crisis when I realized I was almost out of oats but I had already started mixing chocolate). The farmer’s market still excites me even though I’ve gone to it almost every Saturday and we tend to always buy the same things from the same vendors.
We’re both bad at it, but we work to try out more things while here—being tourists gives us the excuse to get out go to a different restaurant or café.
I appreciate this little town’s views—I still love to gaze at the cathedral when crossing the river, whether it’s after sunset or just a foggy morning.

What have I missed? Sorry family and friends, thanks to modern technology, homesickness is something I haven’t experienced since I was 15.
I’m excited to get home and unload all our clothes, wash AND dry them, drown them in febreze, and wash them again (Funky washing machine plus no dryer in humid environment makes for funky clothing).
I’m ready to have easy access to a shower. I understand the appeal of baths for relaxing but I have hardly felt really clean since that has been my only option for washing. I might go a bit overkill with shower time and exfoliates when I get home (TMI?).
Lunchmeat that doesn’t taste weird—I know it’s probably much healthier here but I haven’t trusted thinly sliced meat since London.
Froot Loops will be in the grocery store (or it better be).
I’m finishing this blog, my last to post from another country (at least for now), only a mile away from the Eiffel tower, on the night before we leave Europe. Will we ever be back? Who knows. I hope so, I would like to experience this side of the world more, although I would probably do it differently. There are still things here we would like to try, still places we wanted to visit but just didn’t have the time and energy.

Some many things happened to us while abroad—expected and unexpected. I became versed in the practices of French healthcare.
Dozens of times we were humbled by the kindness of strangers. However, this did not change my opinion of the French as a whole (God save the queen!)
I don’t speak French. I know more than I did, probably, but frankly I’m scared to pronounce the words half the time. I still think it’s a ridiculous language, Spanish is a breeze people.
I’ve eaten whelks, snails, and donkey sausage (not by choice and I was seriously hoping I had misheard).
We’ve used the public transportation system in four different countries—the closest I have ever gotten to using public transport in the US was the buses on my college campus.
My first taxi ride was in Paris.

Parts of our time was exhilarating, sometimes is was tiring and dull, sometimes it was indifferent. We have probably changed in so many ways that we are even aware, and probably won’t notice until we’re back in the States—I feel like we will experience more culture shock there than we ever did in Europe—I keep forgetting everyone speaks English there.

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