By Cassi Greenlee
When leaving for Nice in August, I knew that I would make some friends while abroad. What I didn’t know was that I would make best friends.
Nice was not a large city, therefore, all my close friends lived only a few minutes walk away. Whenever I needed someone to talk to, to watch Glee with, to study with, to cook for, to eat with, to sun on the beach with… I never had to go very far. When I returned home people often asked, “Did you get homesick?” and I had to answer honestly “not really” because after a while Nice became my home and I knew the people I would really be missing would be the other international students I met there.
In my previous blog posts I wrote about the places I visited, the things I did and who was with me. Those people, the ones who were with me through the glamourous days of traveling and the not so glamourous nights of studying, were the people I found most difficult to say goodbye to.
Stephanie, my American friend who was always there to watch Glee with me on Wednesdays and feed me her personal supply of JIF peanut butter, was the first person I said goodbye to. I took her to the train station with all of her luggage and waited with her until her train to Paris left. While sitting in the station next to her I realized that our goodbye might be the easiest of them all. Stephanie was the best friend I had in Nice and I realized that it would not be the last time I saw her. We chatted about Christmas and the things we would do when we got home, never acknowledging that we would never be able to live 0.3 miles apart again. Eventually I got up to leave, we hugged, and I began to make my way home from the train station. It didn’t take long to miss her.
Two people I knew I would also miss were my musical friends from Algeria. They were both musicians and impressive guitar players. On one of my last nights in Nice, they escorted me home by playing guitar and serenading me as we walked through the streets. It was one of those magical moments that feels as if it belongs in a movie but instead is happening in real life. They were two very special people that were harder to say goodbye to because I had my doubts as to whether or not I would ever get to see them again.
My last goodbye was a doozy. The “Spanish Armada,” our Spanish friends who lived together, were hosting a final party at their apartment. Even though I was tired from finals and looked like a disaster from cleaning and packing all day, I knew I couldn’t sneak out of town without saying goodbye to the last of the IPAG students and friends. I had no idea how hard it would be. As soon as I started saying my goodbyes the tears really started flowing. I had met so many amazing people while abroad, many of them I knew I wouldn’t be able to see again. Then my roommates (the people who had been through the good, the bad and the ugly with me) started to cry and before I knew it, it seemed like everyone was hugging and crying. Javier gathered everyone around the three people who were leaving the next morning and the group gave a toast to each person leaving. It was very touching but did not help at all with the crying. After the party, I somberly walked home to my apartment.
Saying goodbye wasn’t easy but now I have something to look forward to — traveling back to Europe to see all of the people who were so vital in making my study abroad experience the best four months of my life.