I can hardly believe that four months flew by so quickly. When I left in August it seemed like an impossibly long expanse of time; the longest amount of time I'd ever been away from my family, not to mention at the farthest distance, and the biggest, scariest adventure I'd ever set my mind to. But also the most wonderful adventure. And there are so many things I am going to miss.
I will miss the cobblestone streets of Lille's centre-ville, its beautiful Grand Place and the streets that wind around it. I will miss the bakeries, cafés and restaurants with some of the best food in the world. I will miss visiting the open air markets on Sundays and cooking together in the kitchen every night. I will miss after school trips to Auchan (even if I won't really miss Auchan itself) and stops at the Friterie in Villeneuve D'Ascq for fries, mayonnaise and fricandelle. I will miss saying "bonjour" or "bonsoir" to every passerby in Triolo, even if I never really met them or knew their name. I will even miss my tiny room, with its minuscule bathroom and linoleum floor.
I will miss Lille 3 and its labyrinth of hallways. I will miss eating lunch in Club Ulysse, Florés, and "le moins cher." I will miss hearing the cashier at Florés shout "Panini Chévre!" in that distinctive voice at least three times a day, and the man at Resto Etudiant knowing my order before I can even say it. I will miss Maxime saying "How are you! I love you!" in his endearing French accent. I will miss talking about classes and gossiping about professors with my friends over paninis each day.
There are admittedly some things I will not miss, like the difficulties of dealing with French administration and the constant uncertainty that comes with speaking a foreign language every day. But, then again, I may even miss those things, too.
There is nothing I will miss more, however, than the people I've met.
I will miss Alexandre, with his hilarious snapchats and interested questions about my day. He was one of the first friends I made, and one of the best.
I will miss Claire and Fleur, the two French students brave enough to be partners with Ginny and I on the first day of our communications class. They always put up with our bad French, constant confusion, and worrying when we worked on the final presentation together.
I will miss Marie and Nicolas, the fearless leaders of Club Ulysse.
I will miss Nicolas' excitement for English expressions (you can't hang!) and his willingness to teach us just as many in French (Il pleut comme vache qui pisse!). I will miss his warm smile every time I walked into Ulysse and his exaggerated fibs that I could never identify. I will miss Marie's constant sweetness and her welcoming demeanor. I will miss her kind questions and her thoughtfulness. And I will always envy her charisma and sense of style.
I will miss Elodie, my amazing Tandem partner. I will miss her patience with me, her wonderful stories and her sense of humor. I will miss just talking with her, in French or in English, and learning about her life and teaching her about mine.
I will miss Laetitia, and her wonderful sass. I will miss talking about boys with her and having her correct my French mistakes. I will miss sitting with her at lunch in Club Ulysse and going to movies in the centre-ville.
I will miss Valérie, the best Erasmus marraine I could have asked for. I will miss cooking American specialties in her kitchen and discussing current events. I will miss her kindness and her caring smile.
I will miss Julie, one of the sweetest people I've ever met. I will miss dinner parties in her tiny apartment, and her constant call for one more glass of wine. I will miss her fondness for tupperware and her stories about studying abroad in Bulgaria.
I will miss Daniel, our trusty Dutch friend. I will miss his accent and his stories about the "horrible lady" and the students at the Lycée Professionnel. I will miss cooking dinner with him and his instinct to give us food whenever he could (usually Dutch). I will miss his Friesian pride and his awkward hugs.
I will miss these people, and so many more. Thank you so much for helping to make my study abroad experience such an amazing one. I promise I'll be back soon.