Thursday, September 11, 2008

AU REVOIR, AMERICA (August 30th)

I was asked to make an entry tonight, August 30th,the evening before I board that bus to Logan airport and then fly across the Atlantic to France. It’s supposed to be a short entry that “sums up your feelings, actions, anticipations.” However, each time I’ve tried to write this last entry before I “fall off the face of the planet for three months,” I find myself somewhat confused. How am I supposed to clearly describe what I’m feeling and why I’m doing what I’m doing when my audience may not even know who I am? Wouldn’t they need that information in order to fully comprehend my writing? Wouldn’t it help them to put things into a clearer context?

Maybe I’m wrong, but just in case I’m not, the following two paragraphs contain just a little bit of background information on my life at Franklin Pierce and back home in Massachusetts. If you don’t care about that aspect, skip it. If you do care, here goes nothing!

Obviously, my name is Gabrielle, and I’m a junior at Franklin Pierce University. Although I tend to describe myself as a fairly ordinary student, I know way too many other people who would never agree! Granted, I’m not that huge a part of the party scene, and I tend to give my academics a lot more focus than other students might (I’m a geek… okay?), but I’m still a part of campus life. I usually have some sort of campus job, I’m on the executive board of the Raven Thunder Dance Team, a member of the Winter Dance Concert, a co-chair of the Salon 21 committee, a member of the Honor’s Advisory Board, and part of a few other activities that occasionally pop up on campus (like interviewing “famous” women who are brought onto campus for the Women in Leadership program and planning the Talent Show). Other than that stuff, I spend a lot of my free time with my boyfriend and friends who don’t really fall into one specific category or group of people. Of course, I have my best friends, but all in all, I tend to be friendly with everyone and hang out in fairly diverse throngs of students.

Now, when I actually do find time to go home (and it happens more often than one may think after reading that hectic co-curricular schedule), I struggle to spend even amounts of time with my ridiculously close-knit family. I have an older sister who just got married to my favorite brother-in-law, a niece, an older brother, two ‘rents, and two grandmothers that all require attention. Plus, I still have my friends at home who I like to see and hang out with when possible.

So where did I choose to spend my last night before France? Well, Stella makes sure everyone is in the Rindge area by hosting an orientation dinner the night before the day of the flight, so I’m actually on campus. I probably would have ended up here anyway though. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to wake up super early in order to drive in on the day of my flight out (I’m no morning person). Yet, instead of spending my last night at the Woodbound Inn, which is where Stella has paid for most of the other girls to stay, I’m staying at my boyfriend’s apartment. I figure this allows me the most options for my last evening. I can see all the rest of my friends who just happen to be on campus early, make that final Mr. Mike’s run, and drop off some extra stuff for my friends’ tower. Plus, I get a little bit of time to feel out the freshman class during their orientation (a carnival trip, anyone?)! Finally, I get to say a proper goodbye to everyone who’s around, and personally, I think that may just be the most important thing for me right now.

Overall, my feelings are not a simple mixture that can be easily described. I’m feeling anxious, excited, elated, angry, and slightly depressed. Basically my stomach is doing flip-flops, and depending on what I think about, I have the tendency to start crying or laughing or absently smiling on a whim.

Of course, the good feelings are all pertaining the trip itself. Seeing another country. Having an absolutely breathtaking experience. Being able to learn through experience instead of books and lectures. Everything that makes France and dancing there seem undeniably perfect.

The other feelings mostly revolve around leaving home and Frankie P. Basically, I’m upset to be leaving all of the people I love. It angers me that they can’t share this experience with me. If I had it my way, I’d take my whole “posse” along. Everyone I feel like I won’t be able to live without. Instead, I’m forced to take other things in memory of them like music, movies, photographs, a baseball hat, and clothing. It just sucks that I won’t be able to communicate with them as efficiently when I’m there. Plus, it sucks that when I come back, they won’t know how I’ve grown or changed (if I do). I mean, what if I don’t fit in anymore? What if everyone else has some crazy “you had to be there” experience, and I wasn’t there? And whom do I choose to spend the most time with when I get back: Family first and then friends? Or friends up at school first, before it gets out, and then family and friends back home? It just seems like it could turn into a complicated mess that I don’t want to have to think about or deal with, and I wouldn’t have to deal with it if I wasn’t leaving… but I am… and I’m happy about that… kinda.

So, in the end, I don’t have set plans for this evening, and I think it’s better to be flexible like that. However, I do have set plans for tomorrow, and that involves leaving the country via airplane and eventually arriving in Lyon, France.

Wish me well!



1. Possibly becoming overwhelmed by the language barrier, BUT
2. Meeting insanely nice and understanding people (hopefully!)
3. Having a tough time adjusting to the time change (six hours later!)
4. Having an insanely inspiring experience watching La Biennale de la Danse
5. Dancing in the aisles of the theatres and out in the street during the festival
6. Loving the city lifestyle
7. Wanting to venture back to Lyon (possibly for the festival) at a later time
8. Not being able to entirely explain and describe my experiences to others
9. Having a difficult time concentrating on actual schoolwork
10. Listening nonstop to my specially compiled play list for France (which I named Une Pomme De Terre. It means “a potato” in French, but it directly translates to “an apple of the Earth.” It’s one of the only words I know so far. Haha! Thanks Yari.)
10. Not wanting to leave, but at the same time, not being able to wait to get home

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