The Beginning of the End

That title makes me unbearably sad, but it’s time to face the facts. This week marked the start of the fourth and final quarter of my year abroad. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were all exploring le Parc du Thabor for the first time, all gross and nervous after the flight. Life finally feels beyond normal here, with everything running smoothly (although I hesitate to say that for fear of jinxing things). I can barely speak proper English anymore and can’t go more than a few sentences without slipping in a French word/phrase I deem more appropriate/convenient than its English equivalent, mais bon, I’m taking that as a good thing. I feel like I have reached the mountaintop, so to speak, and I have no desire to ever come down…

French News, it's casual

French News, it’s casual

After Spring Break, we all arrived back at Villa Alvarez bursting with stories and babbling in a crazy mix of Franglais at the top of our lungs (we may sound more French, but our volume will always betray our “true” nationality). It was like coming back to school after summer vacation– that’s how good it was to see my SYA France family after a little over a week apart (I can’t bear to imagine what it will be like in just a few short months). I think Rennes missed us as well, welcoming us back with sunny skies and comfortable temperatures that had us all lounging outdoors and flitting off to Thabor during frees. In some ways, it felt like first semester all over again but without that sense of starting anew. Returning to Rennes felt familiar, like I was settling back into a well worn routine (which however did not include my body clock re-coinciding with the bus times just yet).

Happy St. Patrick's Day from SYA!! (feat. me, G.O, and R.R)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from SYA!! (feat. me, G.O, and R.R)

Getting back into my old habits included going to the retirement home, where we did a little bit of arts and crafts to help them decorate for Easter and the arrival of Spring. Somehow I ended up with glitter everywhere and even hours later, I was still finding little bits of sparkle all over…

Coloring with my friend from la Maison de Retraite

Coloring with my friend from la Maison de Retraite

Easter fun with S.C at the retirement home

Easter fun with S.C at the retirement home

I also went for my first run since before break, and chugging up le Boulevard de Sevigné, although not so kind to my lungs, warmed my heart. Pausing mid-run in the middle of Thabor and then again on the side of the street to capture Rennes as it starts to bloom, I realized how much I love this city.

I guess it's good to be back

I guess it’s good to be back?

Place de Parlement looking postcard worthy

Place de Parlement looking postcard worthy

My sleepy and french-ified brain can’t put into words all the emotions I’m feeling over this quarter but suffice to say, I’m all set to profites au fonds from the two months we have left. This includes eating all the food, especially, but not limited to, cheese, baguettes, pastries, chocolate, galettes and things slathered in salted butter, as well as the array of Girl Scout Cookies (aka little nuggets of America) that my parents graciously shipped me. Fun fact, the French (or at least my host family) prefer classic shortbread (aka Trefoils) to a mint-chocolate combo (aka Thin Mints). We’re over half way through the year and I’m still comparing my two cities and the two cultures. Since I’m still discovering new facets and nuances every day, I’d venture to say it’s never gonna stop, which is indicative in my mind of the fact that while life as a quasi-expat will often be spent in semi-limbo, sometimes it’s ok to just let one city overwhelm you and truly immerse yourself in its comforting foreign-ness.

L'Eglise Jeanne D'Arc, my trusty landmark

L’Eglise Jeanne D’Arc, my trusty landmark since the start of the year

How adorable is my host family's house?

How adorable is my host family’s house?

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