As I prepare to leave Paris, I can't help but think of how seeped in memories this city has become. Everywhere I go in Paris, I have memories of the first time I visited it, or the time something funny happened, or a person I saw there who impacted my life. Everywhere I've walked, I've created memories. Every second of this study abroad has created memories. The city is drenched in memories.
I don't want to leave France, ever. I cannot tell you how much I am going to miss this place. So much about it has become home now- even the ridiculously crowded RER train that always happens to be more packed than usual AND 20 minutes late when I must get to class. I'm going to miss the beautiful city, the way it shines in the rain, the way it sparkles at night. The river that's gushing with rain water right now. The storekeepers who always greet you with Bonjour and help you with anything you need. The boulangeries on every street corner. The adorable little children. The faithful members of the church. The cobblestone streets. The rushing of the metro. The calm of the Tuileries. The art of the Louvre, Orangerie, Orsay, Pompidou.
There is just so much that I love and so much that I want to keep forever.
I want to stay. Or come back all the time. One of the two. Because America may be my home, but this feels like where I belong. I've found it, and it's Paris. Somehow I always knew it would be.
So as I say goodbye to my city tomorrow, I'll be holding back tears the entire time. Nothing will ever be able to replace this time in Paris, and no matter the new memories I create here, nothing will ever compare to the first memories I created here.
As Earnest Hemingway said:
There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.