Today I am boarding a plane. I will print my boarding pass, lug two suitcases to CDG, and at 10:40 am, will be strapped into the seat of a Boeing 747 for the long transatlantic journey back to California. But before I go, I cannot help but reflect on all that France has given me.
France, you gave me back to me at a time in my life when I was no longer certain reclaiming myself was possible. One year ago, I was lonely and afraid. I crossed a stage in a black gown, a hollow revenant floating through the Greek. I received two pieces of paper to signal that I had finished a part of my life. I didn't know who I was anymore. I was scared not to know myself. I was scared to think of who I was becoming, scared of the hardness of heart, anger, frustration, and unhappiness that the final stretch of my time at Berkeley wrought within me. I knew enough about myself to know that that was not me.
But this time, things are different. One year later, my final stretch of time in France is happy, euphoric. I am content, I am excited for another phase of life to begin.
The dark circles of sleeplessness have disappeared from under my eyes. I've leaned down. My skin has it's glow back. I'm smiling. I have been brought back to life.
France, ma chere, you have shown me how to live and love who I am again. You've shown me how to be happy again. And that, my friend, is nothing short of the best gift of all.