I’m back home in Grenoble again and it sure feels good! There’s nothing like coming back to a place that is your home away from home. For me, that’s the gorgeous snowy mountains, my best friends, and the French lifetsyle that I have become accustom to.
I had a long journey arriving back hitting a total of 3 countries in 1 day! Through Zurich, Copenhagen, and France I finally made it. It felt spectacular to return yet quite normal. Europe used to feel so foreign and new but now it feels like the norm. That’s what happens when you become so acquainted someplace. It doesn’t lessen the grandeur, but you fit it into your daily life.
Despite me living in Grenoble all last semester, this time around felt fresh and exciting! I was welcomed by a magical snowfall that covered the town in white. Even the locals were holding up their phones to take pictures outside. Grenoble is the most perfect town and I love everything about it. I still can’t get enough pictures.
Reuniting with my friends was probably the very best part though. Last fall I was lucky enough to make the best of friends and I feel so blessed to have been able to return to continue our adventures and make new memories. The following morning after my arrival one of my friends and I were super jetlagged and were up at 5am not knowing what to do. We decided to meet up for breakfast but since no restaurants were open we went to the grocery and prepared ourselves a delicious French meal consisting of croissants and bread with ham and cheese. It was the perfect welcome back to French gastronomy and satisfying my taste buds.
Furthermore, I have a new living arrangement where I’m residing in a residence hall with other international students. I had no idea what to expect but have been pleasantly surprised. The room is good size, there’s a communal kitchen and sitting area on the ground floor, and it’s always warm and homey. The building itselt is quite historic and French. It used to be a convent and there’s a beautiful courtyard in the middle that our bedroom windows look out at. In the summer it is covered in vines and I hope I can see it start to bloom before I leave. The residents are all very kind and from around the world. It’s a great opportunity to learn about different cultures and practice French which I’ve noticed is the preferred language among everyone.
I also get to live with my best friend which has already been a blast! We get along wonderfully and can handle each other’s quirks. We made a trip to Ikea and furnished the room to our liking. The best additions (I think) being our brioche and nutella jar always closeby and a California flag repping our home state. It’s such a blessing having a best friend that you can trust with anything, always be on the same page with, and never cease to get sick of each other or have fun. You know it’s a true friendship when you constantly communicate despite the fact that you’ll see each other again in only a few hours.
So far I haven’t had a dull moment in Grenoble: From the tropical surprise birthday party we threw my friend, to starting school and meeting a ton of new people in my classes and in my exchange program. I haven’t had time to sit back and let it all sink in. Returning back felt like bliss, the start of school has been exciting, and I’m ready to plan some more trips and fully engage in my last semester in my favorite place in the entire world.
I have a few goals for the next 3 months that I want to dedicate my time to. First being to practice French more which is actually hard when you go to an English speaking school and all your friends use English. However there are multiple ways I can attain this goal like practicing with my French friends, utilizing my school’s resources, and independently studying my collection of books to master this language. Another intention I have is to travel to a few more countries and go skiing.
I’m proud to say I’ve already accomplished one goal which is tutoring English to a French child. Thanks to a friend from last semester’s program, I had a contact to a French family who wanted their 8 year old son to continue his second language studies. They are the sweetest and most endearing family ever and I can’t wait to start my lessons with him. I’m sure it’s going to be an excellent and growing experience for me.
|On my way to meet the French family… Views of the gorgeous French Alps in Meylan (a lovely residential town near Grenoble)|
All in all, I’m stoked to be here and love the life I’m leading. I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m so grateful for all these blessings. If I had any advice to give, which I feel too young to be giving, it would be to never settle for anything less than you want. Whatever makes you happy, in the realm of reality of course, should be what you are doing, because nothing else will fulfill your desires and ambitions than committing to a life you love. I see no boundaries or barriers that can keep you away from achieving what you want. If you are determined and hardworking enough to design a life for you, and have the capacity to dream big, life is an open door. I personally find my path through the guidance of God and believing in my abilities and strengths. I grow and learn every day and the journey is truly rewarding.