Thursday, 9 May 2013

The end of my TAPIF journey

Last week I left my schools for the last time. After 7 months of teaching it is all over. My time in France has come to a close and trying to describe the mixed emotions I've been feeling is hard. I've had my moments in the past few weeks where I was glad to be finished teaching, happy to be moving on to what I really love doing which is travelling. But, I've really come to like teaching too and living in France.

My whole French life packed into one little suitcase
The only way I can describe my time here is that it's felt really fast and really slow at the same time, which I know will probably make no sense at all. I look back to when I first arrived in September- when I started the administrative process, found an apartment and settled into my job- and it feels like an eternity ago. I think back to when I was last at home in Australia and my memory is a little fuzzy. At the same time though, I can still picture myself in my bedroom back in Australia before I left, spending long hours reading about anything to do with TAPIF, imagining what it would be like for me. What would my French life be like? My time here has absolutely flown by.

Now, I feel like I have two places that exist in my heart but neither of them is really, perfectly 'home' anymore. The thought of going back to Australia is actually a little scary. I'm scared I'll get there and not connect to it all, but I know I'll have my family and friends. But here in France, I've put together a life. I love that I work and pay for everything myself. I have my own apartment and my friends. I love my freedom and independence. And being able to travel at the drop of a hat. I love day to day life. But, it will never be home because it's not Australia, it's not family, it's not English.

I never really thought I would feel as French as I do, but while writing this in Ireland, there's this connection with the place that I don't think will ever leave me. Like the homely feeling you get when you hear French spoken on the street, or cravings for baguette, or wearing all black and thinking nothing of it. I feel like it's changed me in ways I don't fully know yet. The hardest part has been saying good bye to my closest friends and doing all the 'lasts'...taking my last walk around town, having that last delicious daim mcflurry at McDonalds, taking that last look at my empty apartment, having that last dinner at your favourite restaurant... all the little things. I'm really going to miss it here. As much as I hated it at times, there's never been even a second where I've regretted coming. 

Au revoir, France! Thank you for letting me be part of your history for the past 7 and a half amazing months! 

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