It feels odd to be writing this from my bedroom in Bend, Oregon. I have been home for almost a week and a half, and there are still so many conflicting emotions. There is a definite sense of living through history, and a much stronger sense of complete chaos and surrealism. With this post, I’m going to write briefly about coming home, but this isn’t my last post. There’s still a lot I want to talk about from the two months I was lucky enough to have in France and classes are still continuing online, so look forward to more from me in the next month or so.
Travelling across the world as the crisis of this pandemic really started to kick in was a bizarre experience. In the span of twenty four hours, I went from “everything is fine” to “some schools want people to go home” to “every school wants everyone to come home” to “do I actually have to come home?” to “yes I definitely have to go home” to this midnight phone call with my mother: “We have a plane ticket for you out of Paris tomorrow at one, you need to pack up everything tonight and get on a train at 5:45 in the morning.” Complete insanity. I feel so grateful that I was able to get home as quickly as I did, you may recall that the President announced that all travel from Europe would be restricted to US citizens and would have to go through select airports starting that Saturday. I was home Friday night. However, it was a heartbreaking goodbye. I didn’t get to say goodbye to any of my friends (although group Facetime calls have ensured those connections continue in our respective quarantines) and I had only a couple of minutes to say goodbye to my host parents and Mowgli, an unceremonious end to relationships that deserved more.
The program was suspended and now everyone is home. They have ensured our credits with slightly altered classes and expectations and online courses have started up for real in the past few days. Like the rest of world, I am taking everything day by day, and feeling grateful to have made it halfway across the globe to be in quarantine in the more stable and safer environment of my house. Plus I got to see my dogs a bit earlier than planned, which is a definite bonus.
From the emails I have exchanged with my host parents, it seems like France is in lockdown. They’re confined to the house, but every evening they go out on their balcony and applaud the healthcare workers, which I think is absolutely beautiful. It will be difficult to write about my experiences there after they were cut short so brutally, but there’s more I want to share and I’m looking forward to reminiscing in my future posts. For now, all I can say is merci for the half of a semester I got to spend learning my favorite language in a beautiful city on the other side of the world.
P.S. For the sake of something uplifting in these wild days, enjoy these pictures of my dogs (they are quite happy to have me home).