As I prepare to leave, I wanted to write this letter to Paris. I’ve been here since January and learned so much. Before I went away on study abroad, everyone hailed it as an experience I would never forget. Something that would shape me forever. I used to be a skeptic, but now I can’t affirm that notion enough.
Paris, you have taught me how to grow. Before I came, my luck was pretty awful. While I was gone, I have learned how to trust in myself and grow into someone who can love themselves all alone. Growth through pain, fear, living, but all for the end goal. While I have a lot more to go, I look forward to putting my new skills to use.
This is very strange, but I actually learned how to study. Random, but so true. My mom and dad always said that the best way to memorise was writing, but I never believed them. I would pick up the laptop and use electronics to study. This term, I put my MacBook down and actually learned how to revise. While this is something I should have done and learned in high school, I’ve always been a late bloomer. Paris taught me how to be confident in my studies again and figure out how to learn for learning, not just for the grades.
Paris taught me how to embrace a minimalist style, but make it my own. Parisian style is very simplistic, especially when the temperature is below freezing. In Paris, I figured out how I like to dress, in order to be myself, not for Instagram or the public. Dressing for myself has allowed me to find trends I like, but still make them my own, instead of letting trends own me.
Fitness has been an essential part of my life in Paris because 4/5 of the time I was in the city, I was training for a marathon. I used to always work out with the goal of being skinny, a goal I have never attained. I’ve learned that fitness encompasses mental health, physical fitness, and conditioning, plus other aspects, such as nutrition. There is so much more to fitness than what I thought. Paris taught me to be fit and love my body in the process.
One of my biggest takeaways from Paris has been dealing with being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I made friends and met lots of people, but I didn’t have many people, a lot of acquaintances. That being said, it was different not to have the people that I love and care for near me for 6 months. I learned how to be myself, but also how to make new friends. Being alone is something that I recommend to everyone, young or old, as it can truly teach you many things about yourself & give you time to think for yourself. Even if marginally, I became a better person after being along a little bit, so I’m glad that Paris gave me the ability to do so.
Finally, Paris, I want to say think you. You provided me with the perfect space to heal after a hard 2017. I was able to embrace things I would not have been able to see while living in a beautiful city. Each thing I learned from being in Paris is something I can carry for the rest of my life. It makes me excited to move on to the next parts of my life and I will always hold Paris in a special place in my heart.
Lots of love,