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À Bientôt, Paris

It feels impossible to summarize all the things I have learned, the places I have seen and the emotions I have experienced in Paris in just one blog. This study abroad experience was all I could have asked for. Though I am so excited to go home, soak in my family and cuddle my cat, the thought of returning back to California makes me want to dissolve into a puddle of tears, and I can’t imagine living life anywhere other than this truly magical city.
 Walking across the Seine to get home to île St. Louis is something I know I will surely miss.

I will always treasure my time. It felt as if life back in the States, it stood still, and I had four glorious months to discover, make mistakes, succeed and everything that comes in between. I would not trade that (this time or just that) time and learning process for the world.

I can still vividly picture my departure from SFO: Waving goodbye to my parents and sisters from security, holding back sobs as my plane took off. I remember first stepping on the streets of Paris overcome by anxiousness for my new life to begin.

I can vividly picture my favorite moments of this journey: being sick for the first time in a foreign country, gasping in awe while watching the Eiffel sparkle for the first time, sipping a café crème and losing track of time while reading at Shakespeare and Co., biting into a fresh Nutella crêpe, sitting on the Seine on warm afternoons with ice cream from Berthillion. These are the moments I will never forget.

 Dark chocolate ice cream from Berthillion
just doesn't compare to the
Baskin Robbins back home.

Though studying abroad comes with its own challenges, I’ve learned so many things about not just only Parisian life, but about myself as well. I’ve learned how to persevere, how to explore freely. I’ve learned that understanding a culture takes more time and patience then I could have ever imagined. I’ve learned that cafés here don’t serve plain black coffee (much to my disappointment). I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes to get out of a funk is to walk along the Seine for an hour.

If I was to give any advice to those thinking about studying abroad, it would be this: You may think that you can’t, but you can. You may be a little scared about starting a life in a country that’s completely foreign to you, and that’s okay! I know I was.

Pam from “The Office” once advised her younger self to “Be strong. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Conquer your fears and just go after what you want and act fast, because life just isn’t that long.”

Allez-y, folks. The world awaits you!

 A sight to behold: The Eiffel tower against the blue sky.

Frances Mylod-Vargas is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at Cal Poly SLO.

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