During my umpteenth time showing family and friends photos from my adventures abroad, one family friend advised, “You ought to take notes on these photos so that you remember all those details 40 years from now.” My response was that I hope to never forget all of my memories of Paris. I don’t think I can—it was such a vivid experience, my eyes always observing everything.
Having been in the U.S. for about a week now, I’ve found comfort in certain American things like English, pancakes, and cars with heated seats. But of course, I miss the routines I followed during my four months in Paris that became my new normal like saying “Bonjour” when entering shops, popping into patisseries for a midday macaron, and walking for miles through city streets and green gardens.
Recently on the web, I encountered a comically accurate description of French character: “When a posh maître d’ raises one eyebrow and oozes ‘Monsieur?’ or ‘Madame?’ at you, he’s simultaneously respecting you and questioning your right to exist” (CNN) With that, I think I’m ready to head back out to Illinois and get myself some good old-fashioned, Midwestern kindness! But all in all, I’m extremely thankful to Northwestern and IPD for providing me with the opportunity to learn so much—from my courses, from the city, and from my peers. In fact, I’ve decided to pursue a Masters in Public Health because of this program! While I’ll always miss living in the land of magnificent museums, cheese, and fashion, I trust that I will return to Paris many times in my lifetime (at least, that’s the goal).