Ready or Nantes, Here I Come!

Brittany Chen
August 19, 2018

It is 6:56 PM the day of my flight to Paris, and boarding begins at 7 PM. I am writing this to recount to craziness of the past ~2 days.


Some time between midnight-1 AM, August 22: I started mentally packing two nights ago, creating a Word document list of everything I might need, consulting the IES Abroad Nantes packing list (does anyone else do this?)

A screenshot of a Word document listing items that need to be packed. It includes outerwear, summer, fall, winter clothes, socks, and more that is cut off.

Around noon, August 22: I start actually packing, arranging summer, fall, and winter clothes I might need (and then cutting down about half of the things I was planning on packing because of space).

A selfie of a girl with an expression of mild regret and sadness. She is looking toward the left side. She has her hair half-up.

At back is a medium-large blue suitcase with folded t-shirts on top of it. In front of it on the right is an open suitcase with a pile of folded clothes inside. On the left is a box with folded pants and shirts, next to a pile of clothes and a charger.

Me, around 7 PM the day before my flight, regretting not packing earlier

Me, around 8:30 PM the day before my flight, incredulous that I am now 90% packed

Image of a young child with a satisfied expression and one fist raised. At the top reads "Not packed the day before your flight?" and at the bottom it says "Nantes a problem*", both in white block text.

*Brittany does not recommend this packing strategy. #chronicprocrastinator


Around 2 PM: I meet up with a friend from high school and get my last boba in Irvine for the next four months. I am assured by a friend who sees my Snapchat story that there is boba in France.

Around 4:30 PM: After double-checking that I have everything, I say goodbye to my grandma and little brother (who started his senior year today!). Grandma complains that she looks weird. I will miss them very much. Mom and I hit the road for LAX.

In the foreground is a grandma with a cheery smile and short gray and white hair. On her right is a young lady wearing black glasses with an open-mouthed smile. Behind them is a young man with black hair and a gentle cheery expression.

My dorky folks.

Around 6 PM: Mom and I arrive at LAX (after me freaking out for basically the entire car ride about how nervous I am) and she sits with me for about 30 minutes before I head to security. I tell Mom that I am nervous about the flight, by myself, airsick ol’ me, travelling internationally, alone. Mom spends 90% of the 30 minutes telling me to relax. It’s true, I am nervous about getting airsick on my first international flight travelling alone, but what I’m really sad about is leaving my family for four months. I go to college about 40 minutes away from home, so I don’t usually feel too sad about saying goodbye, but this will be the first time I will be across the globe away from my family for a significant period of time. Mom says to relax and enjoy my experience, I’ll be fine.

Two women seated in front of a white wall with gray bars. The one on the left is younger and has an open-mouthed smile; she wears black glasses and a magenta shirt. The one on the right is older and looks happy, and she wears a turquoise shirt and glasses

Thanks for all the support, Mom! I’ll send you some goofy pictures when I land.

Around 6:35 PM: I walk through the maze of the line to get to security, waving to mom as I go through. It calms me down a little, because going through the mostly empty line winds around so I can see over the balcony and wave to Mom approximately three times.

A selfie of a girl with an expression of mild regret and sadness. She is looking toward the left side. She has her hair half-up.

…And now we’re here! It is now 7:18 PM and we are still waiting to board. I am nervous and excited as I sit here, at the gate, typing this post. To ground myself and make myself a little less nervous, I am listening to the chatter around me, which is a lot of French and English. I am excited for a great semester abroad, and here are some of my goals while I’m abroad:


  • Go to a cat café!
  • Enjoy a pique-nique and eat fromage at a park.
  • PRACTICE AS MUCH FRENCH AS POSSIBLE!!! Read as many signs as possible, listen as much as possible (without being creepy), etc.
  • Have fun and stay safe!

Okay, we are now boarding! Thanks for following along, et à bientôt!


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Brittany Chen

<p>Brittany Chen is a Cognitive Science major and French minor at Pomona College. She enjoys singing in choir, eating dessert, playing board games and card games with friends, learning about linguistics, and making/appreciating puns. She hopes to work in education or become the voice of public transit or commercials in the future.</p>

Home university:
Pomona College
Irvine, CA
Cognitive Science
French Language
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