Not just making reference to a Beatles song. Being abroad and so far from home for the past two months has taught me a great deal, especially about the importance of spending time with the ones we love.

Saying “goodbye” is one of the hardest parts of growing up- saying goodbye to your mom on the first day of preschool, saying goodbye to your first family pet that dies, saying goodbye when a friend moves away. Saying goodbye is something that never gets easier no matter how often you practice, and you just never seem to get used to the “goodbye” feeling.

During my parents’ recent visit to Paris, the “Hello”s were joyous- full of gleeful squeals, with hugs and kisses abound. Smiles and laughter and more hugs and kisses. I was surprised at my level of delight when I saw them again, because it was during the rambunctious “Hello” period that I realized how much I had really missed my parents.

I remembered saying goodbye to my dad at the airport, and pretending not to see him get a bit choked up. I knew I would miss him, but I was honestly a bit more worried about getting my overweight bags through the checking process. Saying goodbye to my mom was completely different- I was already in Paris, settling into my Parisian apartment and bursting with excitement to explore my new home. It was difficult to see her go- I was now totally on my own, in charge of my own banking, grocery shopping and wireless router issues. Even coming home from college, having gotten used to doing my own laundry and making my own dinners, it’s just nice to have your mom around. But I knew I would be okay here in Paris- I knew she wanted to stay and experience the city with me, but I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could do this on my own. Without my parents a phone call and hour plane ride away. These “goodbye”s were difficult, but I knew they only signaled adventure and excitement ahead.

Saying “goodbye” to my parents apres their Paris visit was much different. I had already gotten a steady dose of city living on my own, and had eagerly welcomed the refreshing bit of childhood that I had experienced with showing them around. I took a little break from worrying about whether I left the lights on and if I was carrying enough Metro tickets and exactly how many pain au chocolat I could eat in one day before guilt set in. I just listened to stories from home, and about my pets, and regaled them with tales of my Parisian life thus far. So bidding them adieu meant more than just going another two months without kisses and hugs and free meals- it meant I was back to being the city girl living my city life. I had to keep an eye on my French debit card limit, and re-stock the fridge with water bottles. I had to get back into my European attitude that comes from walking around a city by yourself. I knew it was more Abientot than Au revoir– it was only two months until I would be home again. Having gotten a  petit taste of being taken care of as their little girl again, it took a bit more focus and willpower to go back to being a “big girl” and being responsible for myself.

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