I did complete my Masters in Paleontolgy/Paleoclimatology and received my 5-page "degree". I am now back home in the United States...as the saying goes "there is no place like home" being true, living abroad also becomes "home" to you after a while. I believe we humans are extremely adaptable, as anthropology shows human history and migration from the seat of human origin. Although I certainly did not migrate to France for survival, I did explore my surroundings the best I could. I expected to learn about the French culture and I did, however I think I learned more about myself.
|Grading system is very different. Only regret is that I had no idea what was going on Semester 3 with how they do examinations and how they divide it into sections. Can't complain about a B (S3) and an A (S4).|
Yes, I missed family and friends while living in France, but I met such wonderful people who are now life friends. The use of video calls allowed me to "visit" family whenever I wanted. I sorely missed having my Subaru or a car, but I learned the European train schedules and train station maneuvering that I would not have had to do if I had a car there. I did rent a car from Paris to Lille when I first arrived and drove the A1 from Charles de Gaulle Airport and enjoyed the drive to Lille (with a little panic at the toll booth along the way). I actually Google Earth (r) the route I planned on driving, and knew what landmarks and signs to look for. Glad I did that!
|Lille train station where I took the train to Ghent to do my research at their university.|
|Early morning train commuters inside Lille Flanders train station.|
Since I have been back in the United States, I have had dreams of being in Metropole stations, or on a train to Ghent or Antwerp. I think often of the geological sites in the Ardenne I was able to visit in field studies...and even about my little flat there at Reeflex International Residence in Villeneuve d'Ascq. I really miss the staff at Reeflex, such lovely people.
|The view from my flat at Reeflex at Univ of Lille.|
I miss living in Europe but it is nice to be home among my comforts, family and friends. I am grateful for memories that allow me to revisit those events that had meaning to me while living in France. Technology, even though sometimes a curse, has been a blessing to me in regards to staying in contact with my friends in Russia, England, Belgium, France and Ireland. I have also kept my contact with one of my French professors who was instrumental in getting me there. These people and my experiences are treasures of memory locked away safely in my mind and heart.
|My wonderful ULST family who I miss and love dearly|