Time to Say Goodbye

The time that I had been dreading since February 3rd finally arrived. The last few weeks have been busy but left me feeling quite emotional as I know that I have had to say goodbye to my new home and who knows when I will return or see any of my friends again. Most of us started crying a few weeks ago as we realized that our goodbye date was approaching. And now we are in our last week. On our last Monday together we had a farewell/Memorial Day party on the beach which was fun but also reminded me of all the amazing times we have had together this year. In an attempt to hold onto those happy thoughts, and because it is too hard to say goodbye, for this blog post I am going to share with you a list. It is a list of all of my most memorable moments I have had while studying abroad here. Some of them are small, simple memories. Some of them are grand memories of adventures I had in Europe. Some are funny and happy times. Others were quite stressful in the moment but funny to look back on now. But they are all memories that have made me feel like I truly am leaving my home behind here in Cannes. So here it goes . . .

  • At the very beginning of the semester, and it was our last night in London, and a large group of people from our program were seated at a large table in a pub that had the most annoyed, rude bartender I have ever encountered. I remember she carded each of us at least three times (despite the fact that we were in there for hours), laughed at my ID photo, and then told us she was closing the pub at 11:00 p.m. but did not make anyone else leave. While we were there, though, we played getting to know each other games, and I remember laughing so much and I had never felt so comfortable so easily with a group of people I had just met.
  • On our first Wednesday, karaoke night at Morrisons’, my roommates and I – having only met 4 days previously – decided to get up on stage and sing “Dancing Queen” and it was a wonderful bonding moment.
  • Playing card games and 5 Second Rule in the P’tit Cafe with lots of wine and cheese.
  • Any night when my roommates and I came up with random, hilarious phrases and I decided to turn them all into hashtags and pin them to our corkboard in the room. We started with three and now we have like twenty. I will always miss and remember talking in ridiculous accents and laughing so hard, I fall on the floor with a stitch in my side.

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  • Our program director treated us to a dinner out, where several of us ordered the moules-frites, a Southern France specialty, only to end up with food poisoning the following three days. It was awful to watch everyone drop like flies as the sickness hit every single person one at a time.
  • Going bowling with the group. My team was fairly mediocre but at least we had Sandrine, our program director, on our team. Afterwards, everyone discovered Ma Nolan’s for the first time and we all ate a ton of nachos and hot wings. Then we had karaoke night on campus where a group of about ten girls sang “Burnin’ Up” by the Jonas Brothers.
  • During our trip to Florence, everyone really wanted to find a fun club in the city and that, unfortunately, backfired as we ended up at a club called “Space” where we truly discovered hell on earth. We could not walk through the club without shoving through literal walls of people, getting groped and grabbed by aggressive strangers, and I got beer spilt all over my hair. The club set-up is weird as well – you enter, get a ticket for your drink and then you cannot leave without your ticket at the end of the night and you don’t pay the ticket/cover charge until you leave as well. Of course, half of our program lost their tickets, or lost their coat check tickets, and were literally being held hostage in the club, upset because it was late and they had had a terrible night in that terrible club. Note: never go to space in Florence, Italy.
  • I’ll never forget all of the college bonding over how annoying the young Italian students were who cut in the lunch line, made exuberant amounts of noise throughout all god awful hours of the night, and on occasion, attempted to enter our rooms randomly, without permission. Whenever the wifi wouldn’t work, everyone would immediately hiss, “The Italians.” (Sorry, Italy.)
  • On our first quest for sushi in Cannes, a friend tried to order teriyaki sauce but had no idea what the french translation was so she just described it as the sugary sauce and they brought her a literal bowl of sugar instead.
  • Every 2:00 a.m. kebab that was purchased and eaten after a late night out at Morrison’s.
  • Venturing through the Paris metro late at night, to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up and sparkling with an amazing group of girls, one of whom bought everyone tiny little Eiffel Tower keychains, and then just sitting there together, eating crepes and looking at the beautiful Parisian monument.
  • In Dublin, my roommates and I had a super early flight back to France, and it was the same weekend as Daylight Savings, which meant we were losing an hour so we decided to not bother going to bed. We happened to be staying at the apartment of one of my roommate’s friends so we just stayed in the apartment until 3 a.m. playing games, listening to music, and laughing.
  • On our flight to Greece, our airline’s computer system was down until about 30 minutes before our flight was supposed to leave which meant that no one could print their tickets or check their bags. Finally, when it worked, the line took forever and we ended up running through the airport to our gate, only to find out the flight had been delayed for even longer.
  • Every moment in Greece is an amazing memory that I will never forget. From our AirBnB’s friendly cat, to the amazing food, to the wifi that only worked on the AirBnB balcony, to renting a car in Santorini and driving around the entire island at sunset, to swimming through the freezing Aegean waters to get to the hot springs, to riding a donkey up a cliff, and going to a fish spa for the first time – it was all amazing.
  • The twelve hour bus journey to Eastern Europe – it was long, and my neck and back were quite sore afterwards, but the drive was cheap and the scenery was gorgeous. I do not regret the experience one bit.
  • Driving through France’s Provencial region and seeing the French greenery and mountainsides, especially in Les Baux de Provence where the cliffs and greenery seemed to stretch on forever.
  • Standing on the roof of a medieval castle in France and just watching the small Provincial town below.
  • Taking the train to Italy for the day and eating the most amazing food with friends, then sitting on the rocky beach and watching the parasailers take off into the air.
  • Walking around Barcelona and taking in all of the amazing architecture. Then getting amazing sangrias and tapas after touring the Sagrada Familia. And eating lunch at the market two days in a row.
  • My entire internship experience at the Cannes Film Festival – waking up at 7:15 a.m., going into the Palais at 8:30 a.m. before anyone else got there and seeing all of the booths, being hostess for the distribution company that I worked for, and helping out at my boss’s cocktail parties in her apartment.
  • Walking the red carpet (both times) – the first time, watching Sophia Coppola’s new film, The Beguiled, which was amazing. And the second time, sitting within yards of Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, quite close to the stage, as my friend and I watched the Palm D’Or awards ceremony.
  • Going to the beach with my friends during our last weekend in Cannes. I got a killer sunburn but being on that beautiful beach with some of my favorite people was definitely worth it.

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  • The Memorial/Goodbye party on our last Monday – it was so fun it inspired at least three other memorial day parties on the beach throughout the week, all of which were just as fun.

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  • On our last night, on Friday, everyone stayed up all night to hang out on the beach. We watched the videos people had made during the school year and even handed out superlatives. Despite the fact that there was quite a bit of crying, it was still fun and I will always treasure that memory and be glad I stayed up to spend my last hours in Cannes with my friends.

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These are only a select few of my favorite memories from studying abroad and I am so sad to say goodbye to France, but at least I know that Cannes will always be my second home.

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