I'm back in the United States of America. For the foreseeable future. It's very bittersweet. Like, if you looked up "bittersweet" in the dictionary, there would be a close-up picture of my face as I stepped on the plane that took me to Moscow*. And beside that photo would be a GIF (because this dictionary is interactive and on the Internet, apparently) of animated rainbows dancing. Guys, I'm so excited about the Next Step. Super pumped. Ready to roll. It's going to be amazing (and hard... adulthood is not as simple as clicking your red heels together; it's more like a long and treacherous journey down an apocalyptic alternative reality version of the yellow brick road--let's be real). Like, whoa.
But I miss Nice! Fancy that! Let's take a moment and look at what I thought of Nice before I even got there:
"So, I'm a little nervous about moving to Nice. Nice has 147 days of "strong sun" and 64 days of "weak sun" annually. That's 211 days of sun. I'm used to a 164 days of sun! I will have to deal with 47 extra days of sunshine! Oh my! What am I going to do?!"
I may have been a little too preoccupied with meteorology. I have gotten rashes from the sun before, so my worries were legitimate. Besides this, though, I had no idea what to expect from Nice. I had no sense of the place. No inkling of what I'd find when I got there. No expectations. Which is cool, I guess. I was free to experience the city without prejudice.
Now that I've lived there for 8+ months, I definitely have a sense of the place. My sense is that Nice is always going to be something different. People come and go too quickly there. Businesses fall apart and go up in days. The turnover of tourists is remarkable. These are integral parts of Nice's identity. In some ways, it's good that I'm leaving Nice when I am. The delightful pocket of Nice I experienced last year no longer exists, which is very sad, but is also the nature of the universe. Change. C'est la vie and all that.
I want to take a moment, though, to appreciate my Nice. The Nice in my head--the Nice I'll always remember. Here's a poem:
Whoop, whoop! There it is. Nice won me over, guys.
Anyway, I want to give a huge shout out to all the lovely people I met who made my Nice experience what it was. You guys basically won me over, so there you go. I can't wait to see some of you again--either at a Nice reunion, or a chance encounter, or during a trip to a new corner of the world. You're also welcome to come find me in the U.S. I will feed you delicious Annie's Mac n' Cheese and we will drink fantastic craft beer. Deal?
*My trip from Nice took an epic 2 days in which I traveled via overnight train to Paris; Orly airport to Moscow; Moscow to JFK; airtram to Grand Central where I had beers with Olivia and Max!!!; Metro-North train from Grand Central to Waterbury; and my dad's car from Waterbury to home.