So this weekend was a pretty exciting weekend, my friend Laura came to visit me and we went to Paris! Laura and I have been friends since 7th grade, and since we could apparently tolerate each other during our terrible middle school phases, we’ve been friends ever since. Having friends from home visit is a kind of weird experience, it’s almost like we’ve built entirely new lives here that are different from our lives back home. I have friends here, but they don’t know me like Laura does. I like them a lot, but I forget all the time that we’ve really only known each other for a little more than two months. She’s studying in Florence right now so she understands the weirdness that is studying abroad in Italy, but hanging out with her really felt like home.
Studying abroad has been an amazing experience because not only has it allowed me to experience life in Italy, but also the opportunity to travel to many countries in Europe as well! I have wanted to go to Paris my entire life. One of the reasons Laura and I are even friends is because we both took French together in middle school. In high school we had actual academic lessons about the famous monuments in Paris. Paris has been more than just a city for me, it’s been built up for almost a decade. Visiting places that are so important to you is an interesting experience. There’s no way it can possibly live up to your expectations, but that doesn’t mean that the experience has to be disappointing.
Yeah, Paris wasn’t the magical place that 13-year-old Beth envisioned when she thought about finally getting to go to Europe, but that’s not actually a bad thing. Paris is a city, beautiful and filled with people, museums, and history. I could see myself living in Paris in ways I can’t really see myself living in Rome. Plus, it was a great opportunity to practice my deteriorating French skills! After practically a million years of French classes, it was really cool to finally get to practice in the real world. I haven’t formally studied French in years, but all of a sudden I’m feeling like I want to become fluent again!
One of the best parts of studying in Rome is how easy it is to get to other places in Europe. Not that Italy isn’t fabulous and interesting by itself, but sometimes it’s just really cool to take a break and see some other aspects of European life. Taking a weekend vacation to France was absolutely amazing!