Alas, all good things must come to an end and I am back in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Coming back to the States was really strange, because when I was in Europe I assumed that the moment I hit American soil I would start to miss France unbearably. This, however, did not occur. Instead, I realized that as much as I loved living in Paris, living in Ann Arbor has its perks too. Mainly, I realized that no matter where in the world you are, life is still essentially the same. While I was constantly challenged to be more independent, more mature, more responsible, and more French while I was abroad, now I am being challenged in those same areas but in an entirely different context (perhaps minus the French part).
For example, I’m sick as a dog right now and terribly jet-lagged, which is frustrating because I’m starting to get anxious about the start of the school year. There is nothing in life I hate more than moving — deciding what things to bring, packing and unpacking, etc. Moreover, I am disconnected from my friends right now, since my phone was stolen in Geneva. Additionally, my artist’s temperament is driving me slightly crazy. Despite feeling awful this morning, I felt the need to plunk myself down in front of my laptop and dutifully bang out my 900-word quota for the day (novel word count is 9357!). My oil painting is sitting there, as if taunting, “You’ll never finish me, will you?” Then the piano chimes in, “You promised Luc you’d play me. How depressing that your decade of musical training amounted to nothing.”
Speaking of Luc, the man is driving me crazy. We said goodbye once, and then a second time, and then a third time, and now I still have no idea where we stand. If ever a relationship merited an “It’s Complicated” Facebook status, this is it.
Clearly, I’ve picked up very well on one of the notorious skills of les Français — the art of complaining. Now, let me channel my American side and focus on the positives. First, I’m ready to begin the new school year. I love what I study and I have quite an ambitious projet for myself. During the week, I plan to wake up at 7 am (sorry, roommie), shower, eat breakfast, work on my novel, head to class, sneak in lunch during my half-hour break, go back to class, hit the gym for an hour, make it to my final class, cook/eat dinner, and spend the evening doing homework, watching foreign films, Skyping long-distance friends, and hanging out with housemates. On Saturdays, I will paint and run errands and hit up Barnes and Noble (oh, how I wish I could say Border’s). On Sundays, I will teach GRE at the Princeton Review from noon to 3 pm and then study for the upcoming school week. Did I mention I also would like to be in bed by 10 pm? Execution of plan doubtful…
Secondly, I will be living with three awesome girls who will undoubtedly make my junior year as memorable as my first two years have been. I look forward to sharing many experiences with them and learning more about myself through getting to know them. Currently, I don’t think there’s anything left to uncover in my relationship with my best girlfriend, Jill, but only time will tell.
Et voilà, with that I wrap up the Le Diplomate series. It’s been a great ride with all of you and thanks so much for reading! As promised, I will being starting up another series chronicling this self-deprecating writer’s creative process.