Oh, take me back to the start

To all the people feeling overwhelmed by the number of options in exchanges that they have in Go Global, I’m so envious of you. (I’m supposed to be studying for my exam tomorrow but I’m not. Apparently you still have exams while on exchange??)

I’m so, so envious of you. I remember me at this time last year. I wanted more than anything in the world to go to Sciences Po Paris, and live on Boulevard St Michel, and sleep in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and wander down the Seine every afternoon, and breathe in the same air that Hemingway and Picasso and Chanel and all the others did, once upon a sunny morning. I thought that’s what I’d wanted since I was twelve years old and I fell in the love with that city for the first time. But it’s been exactly four months, 21 days, and eight and a half hours since I arrived in Grenoble. And it’s been four months, 21 days and eight hours since I thought for a single second that going to Grenoble wasn’t absolutely the right decision. I love it here. I love it more than anything else. I never knew the meaning of the word serendipity until I got here. I don’t regret it for a moment, not for a heartbeat. I still don’t know why I chose this tiny little city as my second choice but I’m so inexpressibly glad that I did. What I’m saying is, it doesn’t matter where you go. It doesn’t matter if you get your first choice or your third choice; it doesn’t matter if you go for first term or second term or both; what matters is that you go at all. You can read my blog and you can read the blogs of the other Go Global Bloggers, you can stock up on the travel books and the electricity adaptors and the currency exchange calculators and the Canadian flags and you can do all the planning and the research and the dreaming you possibly can. But it won’t ever be enough. I’m so envious of you. You’re on the cusp of something and I wish I was on the cusp of it again because that would mean it isn’t half over.

It’s a little bit scary to think how much everything has changed. Changed isn’t the right word: nothing has changed, just that everything has gotten so much deeper. All of a sudden there is so much more to this world, my world, your world, than there ever was before. And as wonderful as that is, it’s also terrifying. You don’t know what you’re going back to. It can’t be familiar because nothing is quite the same anymore, and yet what if when you go home it’s like nothing ever happened, nothing else has shifted, nothing else has changed?

So I’m really envious of you. You have everything out there: the entire world is at your feet, everything is at your fingertips. There are no doors closed to you. Every option is equal in weight to the one next to it. You have every decision before you. This isn’t the first time I’ll say this, nor will this be the last, but I wish I could stay here, right here, in this moment. And I’m so happy for you that you have all these wonderful moments still ahead of you.

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