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Greetings from sunny California. And I mean sunny. Seriously, I wore shorts yesterday and it’s DECEMBER. I suppose it’s appropriate that I live in California, since it pretty much does as it pleases, as do I. I have officially been home for a week, which feels both long and short. It has been great catching up with people and discussing my time abroad. Although in all honesty, this must be how it feels to be pregnant. EVERYONE asks how your trip was and by the fourth or sixteenth conversation, you’ve got it down pat. Before I tell you my thoughts on this year (2011), I will entertain with you with one of my personal favorites…the countdown. Here are some things that I have noticed/enjoyed since being home:

1. I can now talk at normal decibel levels. I have been so used to whisper-talking in English, so as not to let any Parisians know my true identity. The other day I went grocery shopping with my mother and I realized that if I felt like it, I could yell “MOM!” really obnoxiously to get her attention. I also realized as I was speaking to her, that I was talking so quietly because I was so used to these hushed public conversations.

2. This one is a given, but really, god bless America for having public restrooms. I no longer have to purposely dehydrate myself or plan outings accordingly. I still don’t understand how the Parisians do it. Maybe it is the permanent chunk of baguette resting at the bottom of their stomachs that instantly soaks up any liquid. I just don’t understand.

3. Being able to order substitutions, or asking to get a meal without an item. This just doesn’t happen in Paris. You order, you receive your meal, and you better damn well eat it and enjoy it. There is no such thing as, “excuse me, but could I please have the dressing on the salad? And could I get extra ice please (this would never happen because in Paris ICE DOESN’T EXIST.)” Seriously, I think I have ordered really pickily (yes, this is a word I’ve made up) the past few times I have gone out, just because I can. Exercising my right to be particular.

4. Not paying in exact change!!! Oh hallelujah, so glad to be done with that. Each time I would have to pay for something in Paris, if I didn’t have exact change, I either had to apologize profusely or have a mini anxiety attack, looking frantically for the exact coinage. But back here in California? “My total is .77 you say? Here’s a $20”

5. This is a personal perk, but since I have been home, I have been able to wear my more summery clothes and sandals. Why is this spectacular? Because by the end of my trip, I literally wanted to set fire to my suitcase and never look at any of those clothes ever again. I can’t tell you how sick of your clothes you get. Especially when the weather is extremely cold, so you are limited to wearing either A. your peacoat B. your other peacoat C. choose one of the above. Only downside of it being extremely warm? Well my legs may resemble the color of snow, but it’s just because I’m in the holiday spirit!

Seeing my family and being home for the holidays has been truly wonderful. I know that my experience has changed me, but it is great to see how my parents have grown since Dill and I leaving (LIES, THEY ARE EMPTY INSIDE WITHOUT US) and I have really enjoyed seeing how much Dill has grown (both in body stature and personal being). Although I must admit, I’m glad that some things haven’t changed. Such as tag teaming with Dill and my dad to poke fun at my dear, sweet mother (Mom, I love you).

Side note: family, let me get real with you. Since being home, I have been lazy. There’s no other way to say it. Which means that I still haven’t mailed you your goodies. But I promise you will get them eventually.

I have also had some time to reflect on the future of this blog. Obviously I have grown quite attached to it, seeing as how it offers me the opportunity to say whatever I think to a captive audience. It also helps me to keep my family updated; ironically, I have never felt closer to some of you and I think that’s because you get to hear how my everyday life is, rather than a big conversation every so often. Also, I have been able to hear about YOUR travel experiences (and have received numerous e-mails from Opa and Grandpa regarding their opinions of my blog. Must be a grandfather thing.). So my hope is to keep this little blog alive. I’m not sure how it will transform in the new year. Not sure if my life is all that entertaining at school, but I’m sure I’ll find a way. I also want to post recipes and more photos (now that I have wi-fi once again!).

Anyways, I hope you have a fantastic New Year’s and reflect on just how much you have done as well. Talk to you soon!

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About kelskraz

I've begun this blog to write about various things while I study abroad in Paris. While I major in film (cheese, let's get real), I'll be studying in Paris for 4 months. I hope that I'm able to keep this updated for family and friends to check out what I'm up to abroad (this is easier than my mother putting a gps on my phone, which almost happened). So with that, bonjour!

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