I could write a nice long rambling blog about everything Luke did while studying abroad in France but why? Especially when he says it best:
To spend even a week in a European country is an experience of a lifetime, but four months? Well, according to my calculations, that’s the experience of 16 lifetimes, and that’s exactly what I did during my spring 2014 semester. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it was more like 13 countries. I lived in the small French city of Metz, right where Germany, Luxembourg, and France all meet: the perfect launching point for a semester filled with the works of masters such as Michelangelo and van Gogh, the ruins of ancient empires such as Greece and Rome, and the fine wines of France and Italy. I have walked the Cliffs of Mohr, skied the Swiss Alp’s Matterhorn, and been amazed by Gaudi’s masterpiece: the Sagrada Familia. From Dublin to Athens, Barcelona to Amsterdam, and all in between, I have seen more in my 21 years than a lot get to see in a lifetime. But as I look back and the reality of it all sets in, I realize that, more than the places, the people I met were the ones that changed me. They are the ones that, in some way, will stay with me forever. I’ll always remember the five Scots that helped me take Dublin by storm, and Ashley, the Australian who I toured the underground tapas world of Barcelona with, and then the Nigerian street vendor from Athens who sold me the bracelet I still wear, and his story of how poverty has defined his life. I’ve seen the best that Europe has to offer and tasted some of the best food in the world, but it took me over 15,000 miles of travel and a semester abroad to discover what is life’s greatest potential for adventure: the human race.
Not sure where I first heard this phrase but boy did is it spot on! The boys were coming in for winter break, all of us headed to a holiday family wedding in Athens, then on to visit family in Carrollton, Christmas was only days away, lastly sending Luke off to France for four months. (We all see where this is headed don’t we?!?!) I don’t even remember where in midst of all this it happened but at some point I… just… lost… it. You know the kind of losing it where you are staring at yourself from outside your body thinking “whoa… that chick is INSANE!” and then you suddenly realize that chick is you… it’s not pretty people, not pretty at all.
You should know that while I’m not a type A personality who has to pack six weeks in advance, I do think if you are leaving the country for four months it is important to begin thinking about what to pack at least five days out. Now hubby would say you need to be packed at least ten days out… this may or may not have contributed to the basket drop. Just sayin. Anyway, Luke really did think it would be fine to wait until the day before he left to begin organizing his stuff. I mean it will wash and pack itself and it’s not like airlines have a weight or bag limit, right?!? (yes that was my sarcasm font right there!) So between all the disorganization, travel woes, holiday preparations and the emotions of sending off part of my heart to France, I had my basket dropping moment. BAM!! It was on the floor and everything was just rolling all over the place.
But the good news is I think when my head spun around for the third time, Luke realized that maybe we were serious about getting things done ASAP. After that I was fine… poor Tim may never be the same again but hey, we all have our moments… sometimes I just can’t hide my crazy. Living the truth people, just living the truth.
Luke is heading off to France TODAY to study abroad next semester. Yes, this is the child that typically loses his phone once a day. Forgets to charge his phone so that it goes dead making it much harder to find. Leaves his wallet at home when he goes out with friends or on a date. Feeling my pain now?!?! Seriously, I take comfort in the fact that he is heading to Georgia Tech’s Lorraine France campus. Meaning the professors all speak English and his classes are real classes (i.e. they apply to his degree so he is not just wasting time.) Honestly, what is there to worry about? He is a great student and has been on the dean’s list every semester of college… while majoring in engineering at Georgia Tech (not an easy feat people!!) So truthfully I know he will not only have a blast but be diligent about his studies… still it’s so very hard to imagine putting part of my heart on a plane and know that I will not get a hug or see his handsome mug in person for at the least four months.
I asked Luke, “How am I going to put you on a plane and send you off to France for four months?” In true Luke fashion he said, “You’re going to hug and kiss me first.”
For him it is a BIG adventure. For me? An exercise in letting go, putting my words into action, allowing my son to grow up. Heart wrenching.