Quietly. The word I would use to describe my final trip. Well, vacation. I think "trip" and "vacation" are different. Anyway, on Wednesday May 9th, I turned in my final paper, concluding my year at Sciences Po - Paris. It was like flies dropping at this point - friends were leaving, assignments were being picked off. In mid-April I had taken a receipt from a book store and wrote down a list of 9 assignments I had to do in two weeks, and slowly but surely I crossed them all off. It was more cathartic, rather than to help my sense of organization, but I took this receipt with me everywhere, including to Provence, even though I had no use for it anymore.
The last time I had taken a trip alone was to Bern, Switzerland. If you've followed my posts, you know that that experience was not a great one, so I was certainly nervous about this. But the difference was that, this time, I wasn't staying in an AirBnb, nor did I have any sort of agenda. I wanted to relax... and not stress about trying to squeeze in every museum. In terms of touristy things I did the following: Pope's Palace, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market, Atelier de Cézanne. Not very much, but just enough for me.
I shut off all social media for those 4 days, and I barely communicated with anyone. Quietly. Drink tea, quietly. Read, quietly. Journal, quietly. I focused on the experience, on my thoughts. So in that sense, there's really not a whole lot to say. Except in Aix-en-Provence I legitimately bumped into two friends on the street... I figured I would, since they were studying there, but it's still strange nonetheless. It was their last day and they were "graduating", so I got to see them a bit which was refreshing, considering I hadn't seen a familiar face in days.
I guess this kind of comes full circle in a way. Aix-en-Provence was where my cousins studied... ya know, the ones who inspired me to study a full year? So it was cool to be able to visit some of their old haunts. What I loved about both Avignon and Aix was how cute and small they were... I could wander and get lost, then find myself at the same place where I started minutes later. Not like in Paris where, when you wander, you may very well end up accidentally like two hours away across the city from where you started.
By the end of the trip I had left a bit refreshed, as I had hoped, but I was certainly lonely and tired as well. But I'm so glad I went, it was beautiful. Everyday was golden sunshine, everything was ripe in color, and driving on roads there were countless fields of poppies, it was unbelievable. I had only ever seen pictures and paintings of this kind of stuff: Blue skies with rolling hills in bright red! I didn't get to stop to take any pictures, but it's okay in the end, because sometimes memories are more valuable than pictures. And then when I got back to Paris, it felt like home. 4 days on the clock. And I will end it there for now.