I really hope my computer/Internet decide to cooperate today.
So Ariel, Donovan, Kevin, and I took the last possible train back to Paris. Which means that it was dark and creepy by the time we got back to Paris and I was a little freaked out walking back to my apartment. But no worries. We all got home safe and we were very nostalgic for London for all of Monday.
Because this was our last week in France, I had a bit of a panic attack. I mean, we were only going to be there for another week and I still had a lot of things on my list that I had wanted to see and hadn't gone to yet. There would be a lot of things that I wouldn't get to do that I had originally planned to, but I did visit the things I really wanted to do.
That week, for our museum tour, we went to La Cimitere Pere-Lachaisse. I was excited to go back but at the same time I knew that I had a lot of other things to do that day and I didn't want to spend my time at a place that I had already been. I won't upload pictures this time, but I will say that it was raining when we went. And the cemetery is MUCH cooler in the rain. Also, Professor Hayes was smart enough to find us all maps so we weren't wandering around aimlessly.
After the cemetery, we all went to a little cafe right next door (because Professor Hayes had promised us cofee or hot chocolate because we were all cold in the rain). They were showing footage from the Tour de France and we were all upset we were going to be leaving the day before it would end in Paris.
We all slowly split up and since I had several hours until dinnertime, I decided to visit La Parc Monceau. Because it was raining it was very peaceful and beautiful. And it's mostly man-made. Someone decided that Paris wasn't pretty enough, and a park wasn't beautiful without a giant bridge, a waterfall, and lots of hills, so they built one. I walked around it for at least an hour, admiring the beauty, appreciating all things French, and looking back at the time I had spent in France.
I walked across that bridge. It wobbled.
On Wednesday, I decided to go to one of the Opera houses. I went to the biggest and most famous, l'Opera Garnier. I never got to see an opera, though I really wanted to, but the opera house was beautiful. These pictures didn't turn out very well but I hope you get the idea. Our jaws dropped when we walked in.
In case you've ever wanted what a Parisian street looked like.
That week, for our walking tour, we were supposed to go to the Catacombs and I was really excited. Unfortunately, they canceled it because the line to get into the Catacombs was at least two hours long by the time we got out of class. We were told that if we wanted to go, we could, and we would be reimbursed, but no one wanted to stand in line for two hours when we had 28471 things left to do.
Instead, Ariel and I decided to go see several things. First, we went to les Invalides, which is a big military museum where Napoleon is buried. It was really interesting to see more war stuff, all from the French point of view (again).
The big gold thing sticking out of the back is where Napoleon is buried.
Then Ariel and I decided to go visit the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur, both on the complete opposite end of town and in fairly sketchy neighborhoods. Also, because they're big tourists spots, we were not excited.
Sacre Coeur is set at the top of the biggest hill in Paris. Ariel and I didn't climb all the way to the top, but we did go most of the way up. We sat on the hill and looked out across Paris and talked about how we were ready to go home but weren't quite ready to leave. We also made fun of tourists and had fun guessing nationalities and laughing every time someone was blatantly American.
The next day was our last full day in Paris. (The next day we would be at the airport very early.) We spent the morning at school, having a nice little party where everyone brought food from their home countries, we sang (really), and everyone got their certificates. I was very excited when mine said "tres* bien."
I didn't care what we did that day, I just knew I wanted to enjoy my last day in Paris with my friends I had come to know and love. Madison and Ariel hadn't done the really touristy stuff yet, so it seemed fair that I spent our last day in Paris the same way I spent my first day in Paris: At the Eiffel Tower.
The only view of the Eiffel Tower I actually really enjoyed.
Then we went to the Arc de Triomphe.
And that's where my pictures end.
I was bound and determined to make it back to Angelina to buy another bottle of hot chocolate, the last present I had yet to buy. So all of us went and enjoyed the world's best hot chocolate and great conversation.
I went back to the apartment for my last night. I had been mostly packed for the last couple days. I had a wonderful meal with my host family, thanked them for everything they did, and went to bed. It was going to be a very early morning. I knew there was a slim chance that my host mother understood me when I told her I was leaving very early the next morning, since Emily wasn't leaving for another day, so I wrote her a letter, thanking her for everything again and wishing her well.
The next morning I got up, finished packing, and walked outside to meet the shuttle service I had reserved to go to the airport. It's a long way out to the airport from the city. I was lucky enough that Beth was picked up in the same shuttle so I didn't have to wander around the airport alone. We got in line, met everyone else, and got ready to board the plane.
I had to say goodbye to Ariel the day before because she was taking a later flight, and I said goodbye to Clint and Madison while waiting in line. They were on a different flight too.
I was super excited when my bag wasn't over the limit, because all nine of my books that I had bought were stored in my carry-on. It was really heavy. I didn't sleep on my flight from Paris to the States, but I did sit next to Justin and a few others with the group. When we landed, we were all handed bright orange passes. Because we only had an hour to land, pick up our baggage, go through customs, reload our baggage, and go through security again, we were put on the fast track. We got through everything within twenty or thirty minutes. I was really impressed.
I was very glad to be back in the States but I already missed Europe. Who am I kidding, I still miss it. But I was very glad to have my family there to pick me up from the airport and to go to dinner with me.** I had really missed good mexican food.
Ariel and I have already started making plans to visit the United Kingdom again. It's going to be epic. I don't see anyone regularly except for Ariel. I occaisionally see Donovan and I see Madeline whenever I'm in the Underground. Clint's a graduate student so he's super busy. Madison goes to WSU so we only see her when she visits Lawrence. Kevin transferred to Fort Hays without telling anyone.
I am unbelievably grateful that I had the opportunity to live in France for five and a half weeks. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.
And now I have to go get ready for NaNoWriMo, which begins at midnight tonight. So, for the last time:***
*Only it had the proper accent on it.
**Though I'm still pissed you all went and saw Harry Potter without me.
***Not really the last time. I'll keep blogging. I just won't be blogging about Paris anymore.