Makee – Leaving Home in 30 Days

A painting I made to take a piece of home with me while abroad.

I will be leaving home in 30 days. I will be out of the country, away from family, friends, and everything familiar, for approximately 261 days after that.

Here is the bad news: for the next 30 days I have to watch all my friends leave town and go to college (and admittedly, I will feel some FOMO). Here is the good news: I will be leaving town for Paris, for an unknown adventure, to discover the uncharted, and to have the most awesome year yet.

I can already picture myself strolling down cobblestone streets, ordering in French without waiters trying to stifle their laughter, and sitting by the river Seine nibbling a slice of brie cheese. No, my 3-month stop in Paris won’t be an idyllic, chic montage, but I’m excited to immerse myself in a new culture, refine my French, and feel like I’ve made a home for myself in a beautiful new place. I can’t wait to get to know my host family, gap cohort, and classmates at the Sorbonne, where I will be taking French language and literature. I’m equally looking forward to the delicious food, cool museums, and vibrant art scene.

For the first time in my life, I am utterly and completely in control. I have the freedom to travel the world, to spend a year exactly as I please, and to take advantage of this opportunity as much as I can. I can’t wait to embark on this exploration of the world–which is, more importantly, an exploration of self–and uncover what lies beyond the small sphere I’ve inhabited for the past 18 years. It’s a bit daunting to plan a year where my options are limitless, but also really empowering.

My goals for the upcoming year include, but are not limited to: learning Italian, cooking a decent dinner, becoming a public transportation expert, bettering my French and Spanish, traveling for 30 days straight, making friends from different cultures, not speaking English for at least 24 hour periods, going on a spontaneous trip, and learning to paint. Hopefully I can accomplish these, and add on many more skills that I pick up along the way.

I’m excited to find out what those are.