So... What Now?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A while ago, I had a bit of an existential crisis about my time in France being just a memory, and how I desperately wanted it to be a reality. Since I've been home, I've been having some of the same feelings: I don't want Caen, and France, and all of the amazing experiences I had, to be just a memory. I want it - need it - to be real. I've been kind of in a state of asking... so what now?

Before I left France, I wanted to write myself a letter using to remind myself throughout the year about the things I learned. I have it set to send at various points throughout the year, but I wanted to share it here too as a reminder and a hope as to what's next in 2015. My post-abroad life.

This is probably the last of my post-abroad posts, but it's one of the most meaningful. Follow my entire journey abroad here.

Dear Zoe,

Hi. I hope you're readjusting to life in Colorado, and I know it's really hard. I bet the memories hit at the most random times... and I know it sucks. Even thinking about leaving this place had made me tear up at various points (including right now, as I'm sitting in CDG). Walking past the Where the Wild Things Are mural, realizing you will not walk by it again. Walking down the hill toward Mli, with that great view of the city. Sitting in Memoranda... I'll stop.

Before you dive back into your life in Denver, there are some things I want you to know about your time in Caen, and I never want you to forget them.

You really like sunshine.
But there is beauty in the rain. Never forget the way it smells, the way it makes you feel like everything is new again.

The world is a really big place, but you definitely have a place in it.
It's easy to feel like you and your problems are so small compared to everything. But they're not. You matter.

Perfection is stupid. 
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." - John Steinbeck

It's okay to be wrong sometimes.

Creativity is really cool. 
Paint. Draw. Calligraphy. Write. Write a lot... it's all amazing and you should do it more.

Your grades do not dictate your worth.
You are more than a number value assigned to a piece of paper. Learn to learn... learn to be enriched, not to try and achieve a stupid number.

People are really cool, and really good if you give them the chance.
Never doubt people. They will surprise you.

Simplicity is hard, but it's totally worth it.
What do you really need to be happy? Not things, honey.

You're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for.
There are a lot of times you could have given up. You could have said, this is too hard, and I'm not good enough and I'm going home. But you didn't, and that means something.

Home can be a lot of places.
For you, home will be in the sandy beaches of Normandy, on the banks of the Seine. It's in the castles and the cathedrals, and the places you really felt your soul come alive. It may feel like your heart is broken, but it is just your love all over the world.

I remember how you felt at the beginning of this whole adventure. Nothing but openness, a vast blanket of opportunity, a willingness to do something different and change your life. You had a chance to truly be and exist as you wanted to, create something yourself, and you did it.

You keep saying you created a life in Caen, that you changed in some undefinable, immeasurable way. To say that you are a different person isn't entirely correct. Yes, you changed.

Into who you should have been - and loved - all along.

With Glittering Eyes,


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