Wrapping Things Up

Hy Khong
January 2, 2015

Funny that the title is “Wrapping things up” because I definitely did not wrap anything up literally because I was too cheap and poor to buy presents for everyone. Thanks France for being expensive.

For me, the final weeks of the program felt more like a weird transition period than the end of our time in Nantes. I’d spent the past few weekends traveling, so this was the first time since Orientation that I would be in the city for three consecutive weekends. So being in Nantes during these few weeks was like slipping back into my comfort zone, returning to comfortable home living as opposed to hostel-hopping. And then from here, I’ll be going back to another home – Seattle.

Maybe that’s why it didn’t really feel like “the end.” I knew that I would be returning stateside, but we still had 3 weeks left so what was the point of pre-mature grieving?

Of course, as how all these things go, I realized there were still a lot of things I wanted to do in Nantes. I wanted to go to certain bakeries, return to the Tour Bretagne, ride a bike alongside L’Erdre… but alas I had to “study” for finals. There will always be things left on the check-list, but in retrospect, I’m satisfied with how things unfolded in Nantes.

Things I’ll remember:

- The Christmas markets, with all the lights and smells, are such a great way to spread holiday cheer, although Christmas music would have been nice.
- Vin chaud is my soul mate.
- The little bakery near IES and how they never judged me whenever I bought multiple pastries multiple times a day. And fresh bread that costs less than a euro. Actually all bakeries.
- Walking downstairs to my host parents’ great taste in music and cooking.
- My bathroom where I would take baths while drinking tea and avoiding my academic responsibilities #lol
- Understanding only 85% of conversations as opposed to the 65% at the beginning of the semester!!!!!!!!
- My favorite little places when I needed alone time: the top floor of the art school of Nantes, the cafe down the sketchy alley, the closed museum/park place near IES
- Rolling my eyes whenever anyone would be like “oh my god let’s go SHOPPING!!!!” and then “ugh I’m so broke why am I so broke” which was hmm everyday?
- Being perpetually late for every class and blaming the train or bus and getting away with it 8/10 times and the love/hate relationship I had with the entire public transportation system. #greatstudent
- Learning how to get home by foot from almost anywhere in Nantes because the trains and busses stopped running at a ludicrously early hour. I guess that counts as working out as it took me at least an hour every time???
- The beautiful sunrises which encouraged me to wake up a little bit earlier on the weekends. Jk, never woke up earlier than noon.
- Over-caffeinating myself every day, god bless those little espresso cups and also god bless any city (like Nantes!!) in the world that doesn’t have a Starbucks.
- Going on long walks and exploring new side roads or parks by myself, no better way to think and unwind
- My host mom’s utterly confused face whenever I tried to pronounce a new word at a meal, resulting in many dictionary consultations and word searches before she’d finally realize what I was trying to say. At least I made some progress!!!

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Hy Khong

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&#39;m a third-year student at Bowdoin College studying Visual Arts and dabbling in anything else that seems interesting. Always carrying around a camera, I&#39;m one to believe that even the smallest moments are ones we should preserve. I&#39;ve been to France before, but I was unfortunately too naïve and young to appreciate it. I&#39;m hoping this time I&#39;ll be able to thoroughly experience the Nantais way of life, and have the musings and photos to share with you all along the way.</span></p>

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