We sat by the Loire river that evening, eating pizza and talking about when we first
met. Our year abroad is coming to an end and in our hearts linger this bittersweet feeling. One of the hardest things I find in traveling is saying goodbye, but that night we didn’t say goodbye to our sweet friend Lucca. We said, “we will see you soon in Brazil.” It was the biggest party I have ever hosted. In fact, the whole city came! We had music playing on every street corner. The riverfront was packed with people and we could hardly walk without bumping into someone. It was June 21st and every year on this day, French musicians make music throughout the whole country on every street corner. We laughed, we danced, and we allowed the music to express the words we couldn’t say.
The people you meet along the way become family. I never knew what that truly
meant until one day when I was sitting across from Lin Lin. She said to me, “When you come to China, I was thinking we could do this and that. It is so beautiful in Shanghai and you will not want to leave.” I was thinking, it never crossed my mind to go to Shanghai, but the thing is, each time I say goodbye to a friend, I am getting more and more invitations to come visit their country and see where they are from. We have all become close friends and that friendship has turned us into a big international family. We all had the same vision when we left home for a year abroad and this vision was that we would make lasting friendships. What we didn’t realize, was that these friendships would be so special that we would be passing down these relationships to our children. It is our hope that the people that we’ve met would become aunts and uncles to our children and that our cultures will be respected and appreciated.
One of my friends asked, “Where should we have the next big reunion? What about China? We should all take turns hosting it in our country and show everyone around. We all know what would happen when we go visit Marie Michelle. She will have a schedule waiting for us the moment we arrive at the airport. At 8AM we eat breakfast and at 8:30 we brush our teeth and we must be ready by 8:43 to go to the museum and the best part will be when we grab that schedule and put it in the trash.” No comments! He said to me that night, our journey is like a half moon. We are happy that we’ve met so many people and that it has paved the way for our future family to have connections everywhere, but on the other hand, it is always sad to leave each other for a while. A year before I moved to France, I started praying that the Lord would help me meet inspiring people and I am so amazed at the many ways I have been blessed with sweet friendships.