Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Last Hurrah (Or, I Should Be Sleeping Right Now)

I really should be sleeping right now. It's 1:30 am here and I only have about 28475839 things to do tomorrow before I leave. But it's really starting to sink in now, the whole leaving thing. It seems like this has simultaneously been the longest and the shortest seven months of my life, and I am both longing for it to be over and also wishing it would never end.

Thursday night was my big farewell party with all of my roommates and friends. It was a lot of fun, and gave me a chance to say goodbye to people I might not have otherwise seen before my departure ('cause who doesn't love a good party?). Then last night I had one final dinner with the other Americans. We cooked a really nice dinner together and shared all of our favorite memories from the time we've spent together. It was pretty funny how many of the stories ended with "... We were so drunk that night." But I mean, what else did we ever have to do around here? Then after dinner we went out dancing at a bar on a boat. The crowd was significantly older than us, and the music was mostly bad French pop from the disco era, but we really had a blast. Here's a picture:

From L to R: Allison, Shelby, Creepy Photo-Bomber, Me, Joey, Emily, and David

Today I went to Lille to say goodbye to my friend Tristen, and that's when it finally hit me that this was really my last hurrah, so to speak. We just wandered around the city talking, like we always do, but I was really sad when we finally had to say goodbye. After I came back to Valenciennes, Joey came over and we watched a movie, talked a lot, and then ended, as most of our nights together do, by playing a bunch of our favorite songs and singing along and acting stupid. Joey does a mean air guitar, though. I'm going to see him again for lunch tomorrow before I leave, but I was definitely fighting tears on more than one occasion while we were hanging out tonight. I am really gonna miss that kid.

Tomorrow morning I'll be running around town tying up loose ends. I'm going to the grocery to pick up some snacks for my trip and to get some French gardening magazines for my mom. Then I'll head to the bank to make sure all my affairs are in order there. Then lunch with Joey and hopefully Allison and David, and then I'll pack up the last of my stuff, give my room a once-over with the vacuum and dust rag, and head to the airport when I can't stand sitting in my big empty house anymore. Because of scheduling and transportation issues, I'm planning on spending the night in the Brussels airport before my flight on Tuesday morning. That's probably going to suck, but at least I can smoke cigarettes there. And I bought a couple new books today that are in French, so that should keep me busy for a while. My hope is to be completely exhausted by the time I board the plane on Tuesday morning so that I'll be able to sleep most of the way home, something I always struggle with on long flights. And then I'll be home. And I think I will wonder if my life in France ever really happened.

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