I meant to write something a few days after I got back. I meant to write something a week after I got back. Neither of these things happened, so we’ll settle with writing something a month after I got back.
I’ve been in the United States for a month, and it has gone by very quickly.
I had a lovely last 48 hours in France with an amazing night of drinks, debauchery, and goodbyes among friends in Aix and then some time in Paris. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to end things. I started to tear up a bit on my train from Aix to Paris thinking about everything and everyone I was leaving behind, but then I was quickly reminded of everything that happened the night before and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. I probably looked like a crazy person, cackling to myself for three hours. Paris was lovely, as always. I love that city so much, and she was very kind to me during the final few hours we were together. Then all the sudden it was time to get to the airport, and a few hours and zero problems later, I was sneaking up behind my mom and sister in the waiting area at O’Hare airport. And then 24 hours after getting off a plane I was back at home with a house full of family and friends. Pure bliss.
People asked if I had reverse culture shock, and there was some. Even while my plane was landing, I was thrown off seeing all the yellow school buses on the road picking kids up from school and seeing baseball diamonds everywhere. People asked if I had trouble driving at first, and the answer is no, not really. I have an excellent memory and sense of direction, so I know how to get places. I didn’t drive in Europe, but in France they do drive on the right hand side of the road. Apparently most people don’t know that, but they do. It’s just the Brits that fuck it up. But moving on, a few days after I got back I was visiting my local library and saw a sign outside the door that read “No Firearms” and I seriously almost started crying. Wisconsin did a lot of things while I was gone, and one of them was the implementation of the conceal and carry gun law. You shouldn’t have to worry about guns when you’re going to the library. I’ve really just been getting overly emotional about all sorts of little things like that. Some of them warranted, some of them not (like seeing how much goat cheese and brie cost).
People asked if I missed France yet, and I didn’t know what to tell them. My response was that I wasn’t sure if I missed France, or if I missed being on vacation. I suppose having returned a month ago, I can conjure up a real answer now. I do miss France—but I’m very happy to be where I am. I miss my friends from Aix and I miss a good baguette, but other than that I’m doing quite well. It’s so nice to be around family and friends again and to be moving on with my life.
I’m now two weeks deep into campaign life, and loving it. I got myself an internship with the Democratic candidate running for Congress in my district. Unfortunately they can’t pay me, but I don’t blame them. I’ve never worked a campaign before (which is rare for someone of my talents/interests/age) and money is tight. So I’m spending my summer working out of one of the larger cities in this corner of the state about a half hour south of here, organizing on behalf of our candidate. It involves a lot of calling potential supporters and asking them for their vote in November, a yard to stick a sign in, and a few hours of their time to help keep this campaign moving. As the weeks go on it’ll get more exciting with different events, but right now we’re just trying to get all the pieces together. I really love what I’m doing, and it’s incredibly satisfying. Even if I’m given the most boring task like entering data into a spreadsheet, I can think about WHY I’m doing it (to get Paul Ryan out of Washington and Rob Zerban in), and everything becomes exciting. It really seems like my work ethic, strong sense of loyalty, and desire to help my community is a combination of qualities perfect for campaigning.
So I suppose that’s a good summary. I’m still really happy, usually just as happy as I was in France. It’s great to be back in America, especially Wisconsin, and most especially home. I get to spend a lot of quality time with the canine and feline members of the family, who I missed quite a bit. It feels really good to be doing something different with my life. It’s really nice to meet some new people and really start a new chapter. I don’t know what the next few months are going to bring (other than a t-shirt tan and little free time), but I know It’s going to be great.
And so #FranceLife comes to an end, for the most part. Thank you to everyone who made it such a positive experience, be it support from the United States or France—I seriously appreciate it. And thank you as well to anyone who stalked this blog or my Facebook, I hope it was interesting. And one final time, anyone who came into my life in the past year, my door will forever be open to you regardless of where I end up in life. Come visit.