Friends to Last a Lifetime

Okay, so I have kind of a gushy post for everyone right now.. I’ve said before how I have the workd’s best friends ever and that will never change. Last year, my best girlfriends sent me a care package in Paris from the States to cure my homesickness and tell me how much they missed and loved me. It was absolutely wonderful and uplifting and I couldn’t believe they did something like that for little ole’ me. They’re truly the best.

And now anyone who knows me, knows that I love my birthday. Like love love love it. I typically tend to celebrate my birthday for at least half of October with my various groups of loved ones in my life.. Yes, I’m that girl. It’s not like I shove it in people’s faces, I just love my birthday and love spending it with the people I care about. And this year was wonderful hanging out with my family all weekend – especially with being away from them for it last year while in Paris.

So, remember how I said I have the best of friends? Well, they’re from all around the world and my best friends from Paris just sent me birthday presents from abroad!

   

Seriously, I love these girls so much.. I’m so shocked that they thought to do something like this for me and I couldn’t be happier that God blessed my life with such beautiful souls.

When I say I have the world’s best friends, I truly mean it. 

   

Readjusting

A week and a half has gone by since I moved back home and I’m still overjoyed to be back!

Since coming home, I’ve spent all of my time just indulging in lost family and friend time. The first full weekend I had my baby cousins the whole time and I didn’t let them out of my sight. I’m so happy just to be able to hug those beautiful babes again. 

    
 And I finally got to go on a movie date with my little bro again! He, I and his girlfriend spent the whole day at the movies and it was so nice to be able to hang out with him again. 

 I’ve eaten enough El Mags’ Mexican food to last me another year.. 

 And I dyed my hair again (finally!!).. Oh, and cut it.. 

 I spent a weekend in the city with one of my best friends, Liz.. I got to finally see her apartment and I loved it! Seriously, I want it. 

 Aaaand the world’s best roommate ever – Amy – drove an hour and a half to see me in KC for lunch. She’s actually the best.. I cannot wait to live with her again in less than two weeks!

Last but not least, I’m soooo happy to have a real kitchen back in my life. Yesterday, I made mini rainbow chocolate chip pancakes and they were a total hit in the house.

So, I guess you could say I’m happy to be home.. I miss Paris, definitely, but for now I’m just overjoyed to be back.

An Ode to the Loire Valley

Pastels.

Flowers.

Castles.

Easter is full of happiness, thanksgiving, love and sunshine. Every year, I spend this weekend with my family and we have Easter egg hunts, all the chocolate we can choke down, Grandma’s yummy dirt pudding and lots of laughter. I love Easter weekend and cherish the memories I’ve had with family during these times over the years. I’ve never been away for Easter, until this year. Living in Paris, I’ve missed out on a lot of family time over the past seven months and sometimes I kick myself over it. I can’t bear the thought of missing out on my baby cousins growing up without me, being away during holidays and not getting to bear hug my Momma every day. Sometimes it’s really hard being a world away.

Other times, it’s only bearable because I have such a wonderful family here in Paris. When I moved, I moved completely away from all of my family and had none here. However, I quickly became close with the most wonderful group of ladies.. but they’re not my friends – they are my family. They are more than a friend could ever be; they’re who I run to when I can’t bear the stress of a Parisian life, they’re who I run to when I feel like I’m going to die if I’m away from my parents any longer, they’re who I run to when I feel all alone in this vast city – they are my family. And this weekend, I had a spectacular adventure with my French family.

So yeah, this year I missed Easter with my family. Honestly, it didn’t hit me until I was literally FaceTiming them during an egg hunt and all the babies and little ones were excitedly running about and screaming about their eggs. Being four inches tall and having to be passed around is quite convenient while I’m away but it still doesn’t compare to actually being there. As I was being shuffled about through the crowd of my family, I found myself holding back the tears with all that I had because I knew that if I lost it, my Mom & Dad would too and I wasn’t about to ruin such a beautiful day for everyone. So, I chatted and laughed with the family for a bit and saw the eggs and smiles and said my goodbyes and hung up. Then I found myself on the bathroom floor so upset over missing out on yet another great time in our family back home. A few seconds later, I heard a knock at the door and Gemma walked in to make me smile and hug me until I was cheered up and ready to go for the next day’s adventures. So, when I say that my girls here are my family, I truly mean it. I’d be lost without these magnificent women who make me laugh, smile and sing every day.

That being said, let’s move on from the sappiness and get to the princess-y castle-y part of the story. This Easter weekend, I spent my time in the beautiful Loire Valley of France. This is the area in France with the largest concentration of castles within the country. Seriously, while driving down the road to our next destination, we would see at least two castles just sitting on the hillside yearning for us to come inside. I’ve gotta say that this was one of the best weekends I’ve had in my life.

As our game plan, we each picked a castle we wanted to see the most and then set out on a journey to discover all that our choices had to offer. So, we each picked one and then we also all agreed on two others that were quite famous that we’d all like to go to as well.

Here are the picks:

They were all so beautiful and exotic and nothing like what I’ve seen before. Buuuuut, I gotta say that mine was my favorite. As we were driving through the quaint little village that rests at the bottom of the hill that Chaumont reigns upon, I knew I was going to fall in love instantly but I held in my excitement.. for as long as I could..

As soon as we began the trek up the hill to the castle, I started skipping and squealing in happiness. It was EXACTLY like all the castles that Disney showed me when I was growing up in a land of no castles. So you can imagine my excitement in viewing such a masterpiece. The castle itself was glorious and beautiful but the area it was in was the cherry on top. It’s situated right atop the Loire River and overlooks the village. It’s surrounded by a vast forest and fields and I couldn’t help but frolic everywhere; I was in awe to say the least. It even had a posh farmhouse and stables for the horses but even though it was fancy, it still looked exactly like something out of the 17th Century. Aaaand it’s 1,000 years old. Say whaaaaat?

Playing princess <3

Princess <3

Spring blooming within Chaumont's chapel <3

Spring blooming within Chaumont’s chapel <3

Chaumont; flowers and trees and sunshine abundant.

My Christmas in Paris

If you’d asked me at any other point in my life, I would have told you that I’d never spend a Christmas away from my family. It’s the best time of the year and I cherish this time that I get with my family around the tree, cuddled up in blankets, hugging mugs of hot peppermint cocoa watching Elf. I would have told you I’d never put myself through this season without them. That’s if you’d asked me before I moved to Paris.

With time, I’m falling more and more head over heels for this spectacular city. When I first moved here almost four months ago, I didn’t see it becoming home. But now I can feel myself becoming attached to all of the magic that Paris has to offer. I loved it when I came but not in a “home” way. I loved it in a vacation way but today I can proudly say that I call Paris my home.

So, during this Christmas season away from home, I find myself incredibly blessed. Yes, I’m away from my family and that hurts but if I’m going to be away for Christmas, what better place to be than in Paris? Amiright? I know I am. I’ve come to accept that I won’t be with my family and I’m surprising okay with it. This will be the only Christmas I won’t be home for and I am taking full advantage of all that this city has to offer that differs from America. “Like what?” you might ask? Well..

First of all, the Christmas markets. I went to my first Christmas market on the Champs Elysées right after Thanksgiving. It was like a carnival for adults. Everywhere there were trinkets, food, ice skating and “vin chaud,” which is literally hot wine. It’s spiced and delicious and I don’t know why I haven’t been drinking it every Christmas! It’s seriously wonderful. In addition to all of this, there’s a HUGE ferris wheel at the end of the market.View-from-Arc-de-triomphe-of-Champs-Élysées-avenue_17243426_xl-600x400

Second, every single street around me is decorated specifically for that street itself. For example, my street has a string of lights across the beginning of each end that reads, “Joyeux Fetes Rue Vignon,” which means, “Happy Holidays Vignon Street,” and then Christmas lights decorate the rest of the street in between. It’s beautiful and I love looking at them every time I come home every day. Also I live right by Galeries Lafayette and it’s all lit up as well with dancing lights that put on a show all day.

Third, I still get to spend a good amount of time with my family thanks to Skype. That’s right, we’ve been Skyping together quite often this past week to watch all of our Christmas movies and put up our tree and it’s made it so much easier for me to be away since I’m still able to see them and be a part of it as much as possible. Just last night we had a marathon with It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Story.

Fourth, my girls here in Paris are like family to me and have made this time so much fun. Last weekend we had our Secret Santa gift exchange and it was a blast. Speaking of, I need to hurry this post up so that I can go meet them for quiz night at the bar..

Last, my best friend is flying to Paris to spend Christmas with me and she arrives in just a little over 12 hours!! I can’t wait and can hardly contain my excitement! So, I will have a taste of home with me!

Even though I’m not at home with my family, I refuse to be sad because if I’m going to be away for Christmas, I might as well be in Paris.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM PARIS YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!!

Nobody said it’d be easy.

Well. I’m finally ready to admit it (although those close to me already hear this constantly). I miss home. Like reeeally bad. I knew it’d be a struggle to move an ocean away from everyone I love but I never imagined it’d be this hard. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paris and don’t wish to change a thing – I just need to get a few things off my chest.

I think I’m going through the first wave of homesickness that I knew would come. And I’ve been going through it for quite a bit now. I constantly find myself thinking of home, questioning my reasoning for being here and missing my family.. Like A LOT.

I miss everyone so much.

Let’s start small. And by that I literally mean “small.” Right before I boarded my flight to France, my cousin Kourtni had her first baby. A precious little girl. I’m watching her grow her first year through Facebook and social media and that crushes me. Because anyone who knows me knows that I ADORE the three babies in my life. Like I’d give my life for them I love them so much. So you can understand why it kills me to be so far away for this little one’s first year of life. Especially considering that I was sick when we visited her in the hospital and I didn’t get to hold her but once before I left. And then there are my two babies. Not literally mine, I didn’t birth them, but I’d claim them as my own. Abagail and Aliveia have been the highlights of my life since Abagail was born 6.5 years ago. I try to FaceTime them as often as possible but it’s just not the same as real cuddles and kisses. It does help though that my Momma told me Aliveia (2) has been asking about me: “Where’s Megan?” “Megan come?” “Call Megan.” So obviously they do and it makes my day to see those little faces on my iPhone screen.IMG_4910

I also miss my best friends whom I talk to (almost) daily. I miss them so dang much. I miss having someone to regularly go on El Mags dates with. I miss having someone to tell me it’s okay to eat that ten pound second round plate of HuHot that I just brought back to the table. I miss having someone to sneak into movies with. I miss margaritas every Thursday. I miss all the little things. And texting just doesn’t do all of their awesomeness justice. Even though most of them tend to blow my phone up daily – it’s just not even nearly enough. And it pains me to say this but I can feel some slipping away from me and becoming distant and that honestly breaks my heart. It’s so hard to lose a relationship when you’re so far away. It’s heartbreaking, honestly.

But most of all I miss my parents and baby brother. Man, I honestly never thought I’d miss fighting with someone so annoying so much. But I miss all the little spats with my kid bro. And I miss our frequent sibling movie dates. And I miss having someone to rescue me when I need help in the middle of the night. That kid may drive me crazy but I love him to the ends of the earth and can’t wait to punch him again. And my Daddy. Our song came on my iTunes yesterday and usually it’s too sad and deep (I know, I know) for me to listen to so I skip it so I can stay peppy and happy. IMG_4663But yesterday I listened to the whole thing and just cried. That man is my superhero and I miss him so much. He must miss me too because he FINALLY got with it and bought himself a smartphone so that he could actually communicate with me while I’m here. Now we text and Skype regularly and it still makes me chuckle to see his big smiling face excitedly say, “Hey Sweetie!” literally every time that he answers. Warms my heart. And anyone who knows me knows that my Momma and I are inseparable. Like really. She is my rock and what gets me through every tough situation. I miss her more than words can describe and what breaks my heart the most about this is that I broke her heart by leaving. I know everyone will roll their eyes and be like, “It’s just one year, chill.” But this one year of separation between my Mom and I is like an eternity to anyone else. I hate the fact that I don’t get to go on Walmart trips with her. I hate the fact that I can’t surprise her at the front door with a visit. I hate that I don’t get to interrupt her work day with a visit. Honestly it’s all of the little things.

I know my parents will be crazy upset after reading this post but I just had to  finally get it all off my chest. And now that I have, I feel loads better. And I do have to say that this experience has taught me that I can never live halfway across the world from everyone ever again. I don’t plan to live in Missouri again, but I do plan to live my life in the US.

Although I miss home tremendously, I love this dazzling life that I’m living in Paris. It’s beautiful and filled with awe and it’s truly an adventure I never thought I’d actually get to go on when I started dreaming about it in 6th grade. I’m cherishing every moment and living out a dream. I’ve made new lifelong friends, explored weird places and eaten such fattening food. OH! And drank lots of wine. It’s safe to say that I love my life. You just gotta let some things off your chest sometimes. And now that I have..IMG_4887

OH LOOK. The mom just brought me home a baguette. I’ve been hoping for one for two days this week now. And now that I finally have one, all is right with the world. And you bet your booty that I’m about to eat the entire thing. With butter. Go ahead, judge.

Missing Home

Going off of that last post, I’ve come to realize just how much I miss home. So, here’s a list of the Top Ten Things Megan Misses From America:

1) Mom, Dad, Bro, Grandparents, Babies

IMG_4760 2) REAL milk

3) Mexican food

4) My lovely besties

IMG_3963 IMG_4884 IMG_4988 IMG_4811 IMG_3820 IMG_3063 5) My car

6) Yoga pants

7) My church

8) Pancheros/HuHot

9) Being able to walk around without being harassed at every corner

10) ElliottIMG_4863

Disclaimer: These are in NO particular order except for the first bullet point.

LOVE YOU ALL.. don’t forget about me while I’m gone.

Leaving Home Behind

IMG_1502Well, this is it. It’s my last night in this wonderful country that I’ve come to love with all of my heart. Tomorrow morning I’ll be leaving my home behind and a piece of my heart. This has been the most wonderful summer of my life and I hate to see it come to an end but all good things must come to an end. So, as I sit here with tears in my eyes, I recall all the amazing memories that I’ve made throughout this time.IMG_1494

This city has become my home and even though I know I’ll return one day soon, I hate to say goodbye. Everywhere I look, memories surround me. Starting with this wonderful family that took me in as their own for the summer, I can’t say how grateful I am to them. I look at the girls as my own sisters now and know that we’ll always be family. I love this house and how beautiful it is when I look outside. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend this time and don’t want to think about leaving it.

The relationships that I’ve established here are for a lifetime. I’ve found some of my best friends in the entire world and now that I have them, I can’t imagine life without them. God truly blessed this trip for me and I am so thankful to Him.IMG_1426

Austin, Austin, Austin. Austin is such an amazing guy and I love how close we became. We fought and bickered constantly but the kid is great for dealing with 19 females for the entirety of the summer without another male to help soothe the pain. You have to give him props. That’s pretty spectacular. He didn’t even kill any of us, which is a plus. Seriously though, my summer wouldn’t have been the same without him here to spend time with and eat lunch with and have hold my things for me while I was shopping and listen to me ramble about Johnny Depp and take care of me when I was down. I love that kid and know that he’ll go incredibly far in life. He’s going to be the world’s most renowned anesthesiologist, I know it.1010055_10152045606817564_101705474_n

And now for mon petit oiseau. Man, oh man, do I love my little Aubs. She is one of my favorite people in the entire world. Who knows what would have happened to me if she hadn’t been on this trip to keep me calm when I needed to vent or to take care of me. Literally. I can recall a night when I wouldn’t have lived through it if she hadn’t been there to get me through it. Honestly, I’m being for real people. I already miss our movie nights with horrible wifi that stopped us from always completely watching a movie and our dinner nights where I would cook for her and our multiple conversations about beautiful Frenchmen. Well.. MY conversations about beautiful Frenchmen and her listening of the conversation. I really like Frenchmen…But anyway…Auburn is my soul mate. We’re exactly alike. So much so that it’s scary. So, she’s my soul mate. End of story.

I’ve made a lifetime full of memories this summer and can’t wait to come back one day. I met some friends whom I don’t want to leave behind. Tasted food that will forever haunt me. Tasted food that will I forever crave. Explored ancient ruins. Experienced the best nightlife ever. Became addicted to macaroons. Became addicted to quiche. Became addicted to wine. Became addicted to hamburgers and rice. Became addicted to basically everything here. Tried everything new. Came to know and love a world outside of my own.IMG_1520

I found myself. I fell in love with a part of the world that I never thought I’d see. And I had the absolute best summer of my life.

To all of you back home, I’ll see you soon. To all of you on your way home already, I’ll see you later. To France, I love you and I’ll return one day soon.