À bientôt, Grenoble!
Today is my last full day in Grenoble and the weight of that finally registered during my morning run. While running in Grenoble I often get distracted by the Isère River as I run along its banks and admire the surrounding mountains which rise up stark and beautiful against the trees. This distraction often leads to a few poorly placed steps, but no trips or falls as luck would have it. So this morning when I was chastising myself for gazing up at the mountains instead of paying attention to the uneven sidewalk my feet were pounding away at, I was suddenly interrupted by another thought: this was the last time I’d have the opportunity to be distracted by such beautiful mountains. With this in mind, I was determinedly distracted by my beautiful surroundings for the rest of my run, which was a good thing due to the humidity from last night’s storm and the mid 70’s temperatures. However, true to form, Grenoble did not fail me on my run. Even though it can be suffocating and horribly hot, I can always count on Grenoble to send me a great gust of wind to cool the sweat dripping off my face during a long run.
In order to fit as much “Grenoble” into my time here as possible, I climbed the Bastille Thursday morning with a few of the people from my group to watch the sun rise. The hike was definitely worth it. Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful way to say my goodbyes to the entire town of Grenoble and it’s surrounding suburbs.
Thursday also marked the last night with everyone from my program and because of this API took everyone out for one last excursion to a wonderful restaurant for a goodbye dinner.
Over the past few days I’ve said goodbye to many new friends and have had to start looking towards the future, which is most immediately my next study abroad program. Tomorrow I leave Grenoble for Montpelier where I will spend a few days with my host Mom and her son exploring the city and lounging by the Mediterranean Sea. On Tuesday morning I will leave my host Mom and Montpelier behind to travel to Angers, a city west of Paris, for my second program. There I will meet my second host family (who has a lab, just like my dog!!) and while I am excited to meet them, I am very sad to be leaving my host Mom and this calm mountain town. However, I am comforted by the fact that I will return. If only for a few days, I plan to come back and visit my host Mom next summer after my brother gets married in Scotland–which I can’t wait for!
I’m writing this post more solemnly than usual not only because I’m leaving Grenoble, but also because I discovered last night that one of my previous goodbyes was actually a final goodbye. Yesterday I found out that the horse I leased for this year’s season with the OSU Equestrian Drill Team had died. Smokey was an amazing horse and he taught me a great many things. I don’t have the right words to honor him in a way that will actually satisfy me, so I’ll have to settle for the simple truth: I will always love and miss Smokey and I can’t stress enough how much he saved me and my team this year.
This news has also brought with it new pangs of homesickness as I think of my own mare, who is currently sitting in the pasture at home healing, because I’d like nothing more than to go home and make sure she’s okay and give her a hug. However, that is not how it works when you are 5,000 miles away. I trust that she is fine, but having to deal with all of this while abroad in a strange country has made one cliché strikingly clear: the only time we have is now.
So while I may have moments where I wish I was at home with my horse, my family, and my friends, the only time I really have is right now and right now I am in France. That being said, this is a great country with many places to explore and enjoy and while I do miss everyone back home keenly, I refuse to waste my time to dwell on facts that I cannot change. Also, I know that as soon as I come home and have had my fill of family, friends, my horse, and my dog, I will want to come right back to France. So for now I am going to thoroughly enjoy my time here so that when I get back home I won’t regret anything that I didn’t do while I had the chance. And as for Smokey, I hope that wherever he is now there are great big pastures to graze and roam in but also a rodeo arena or two for when he wants to get excited and surprise everyone with his “next gear.”
À bientôt, Grenoble!