Summer. The sun gets a little brighter, the air turns warmer, the world gets greener, life takes on that indescribable childish joy that comes with endless days of warmth and light. With the coming of summer, my dream-like time in France inevitably comes to a close. How can 5 months feel like forever and yet simultaneously as fleeting as dandelion seeds floating on the wind?
Ah, France. I’ve been dreaming of you all my life. It feels unreal that I’ve been hear, experiencing your beauty, confectionery delights – and yes, omnipresent rainshowers – since 2016 rolled over. This has been the year of dreams, the year to satisfy the wanderlust that I hadn’t fully realized lay dormant in my heart until it was awoken by European air and European sights.
Before I first bid a tearful goodbye to my family in the airport on January 3rd, I had heard countless times from family and friends that studying abroad would change my life. I had thought at the time that, while a sweet and captivating sentiment, it was a bit of an wistful exaggeration. As I look back at the past 5 months, however, I can see quite clearly that it was I who underestimated the impact of this experience on my life.
When I left the United States, I was still trying to grasp at who I wanted to be when I “grew up,” who I wanted to become and what I wanted to do. Certainly, I had a somewhat well-refined conceptualization, at least. I wanted to work for an international corporation, maybe launching into international acquisitions. But that was before.
I still plan on having a future on an international scale. But the wanderlust has taken over my heart. All that I can think of, all of my planning for the future and all that I can hope for, is when I can travel again. I’ve seen most of Europe, and I’ve crossed off many items on my bucket list now. Some people might be content with that. As for me, my desire to see all of God’s creation has only waxed fuller. How can I be content with only seeing Europe when there are so many other wonders out there in South America, Asia, Africa?
I’m not sure exactly where my career will take me, and some might say that my ambition and drive have been impacted and dammed by the study abroad experience. I, however, know for certain that it has only expanded and been redirected.
The future scares me, so much so that I’m petrified to consider where it will take me once I’m released from the safe confines of the University walls among the graduates and adults of the world. One facet remains certain, however: no matter how stressed I may become, no matter how busy or frustrating I may get, the European lifestyle has taught me to always take time to smell the flowers. I plan on doing just that – all around the world, whenever possible 😉
Dreamers do make the world go ’round, after all.