This weekend I went to Trier, Germany to visit two of my best friends who are studying abroad, and it was such a wonderful, happy experience. We decided that since Europeans don't celebrate Thanksgiving, we would have our own psuedo-Thanksgiving meal (I say psuedo because finding the right ingredients...like turkey....was impossible).
Although we celebrated a week early, it was one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever had. And, in retrospect, it was probably my most symbolic and meaningful Thanksgiving yet. Three friends scattered across Europe (me-Angers, Devon-Trier, Maggie-Hannover) traveled great distances in order to be together for an American holiday. Back home, Thanksgiving is a celebration of tradition, but it often evolves into a habit...consequently, not much thought is put into why we are having a feast with our family and friends. This year, however, we put so much effort into our Thanksgiving because we are thankful for our friendship, because we are thankful for each other, and because we have so much to be thankful for (as is made evident by our being in Europe).
Thinking about this made me really happy. I am very thankful to be in France right now and sooo thankful for all my friends and family here and back home who have kept me in their thoughts, because sometimes it has been very difficult being so far away from the life that is familiar to me.
I will admit, October was a tough month to get through. Very often, I was pessimistic about being in France and felt what I suppose is home-sickness. But, ever since November came around, I have had the highest spirits. Maybe it's because I know--I can feel--that the end is very near and will come before I know it. Now, when I walk around Angers, I just smile. Despite the inconveniences of not having a car, having to do laundry at a "laverie" and using a kitchen whose appliances don't really work, I will miss things like going to the boulangerie every day to get bread and croissants, taking the train every where I want to go, and living in a place where I can walk to the grocery store.
I know that these next few weeks will fly by. For starters, I have a 15-page paper that I haven't started on due in a week. So, this week will probably not last LONG enough. But that's my fault. Then after that, I will be taking finals, and until school is finished, my last three weekends living in Angers will be spent in Paris, Marseille (picking up a car which I will then drive to Angers), and Amsterdam. And then it's Christmas! I can't wait, and I think that it's this impatience that makes me appreciate Angers even more.