Last sunsets

It’s been a month and a half since I found out about TAPIF, and the initial overwhelming excitement has now somewhat subsided. It’s turned into the occasional thrill of being able to respond to “Professor, est-ce que vous êtes jamais allée en France ?” with “en fait, j’y vais l’année prochaine !” and seeing the look of surprise and excitement as they imagine their French TA actually in France. It’s turned into the swell of pride when I talk to my peers and my adviser about the dissertation data I’ll be collecting while I’m there. It’s turned into many, many mini-moments of panic as I think of all the things I’ve got to get done before I leave.

And it’s turned into nostalgic sadness as I think about saying goodbye to California. I’ve said goodbye (and sometimes good riddance, and sometimes hello again) to a lot of places in the last ten years, but reaching three years Santa Barbara will be the longest I’ve stayed in one place since I was in high school. I think it would be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to this city if I weren’t going to France.

Santa Barbara is without a doubt the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived. I mean, come on, how can you improve on that mountain-ocean sunset? The best possible answer: move to France.

So instead of being sad about all of the last sunsets and last ocean views, I want to write a list of things I will thoroughly enjoy until the end of my time in California.

  • last SoCal views
    • being near the mountains
    • driving past the channel islands every morning
    • the massive sky – sunsets, cloudy days, clear days, June gloom
    • the dark, clear, star-speckled nights
  • last months of perfect weather
    • never having to wear rainboots or sunscreen
  • last CA eavesdropping
    • overheard at a restaurant: “someday I want to make someone’s day by leaving a $100 tip”
    • people who use words like “clutch” (who knew this was still a thing?) and “fab” and “totes” unironically
  • last kickboxing classes
    • this has been amazing and hopefully is not out of my life forever
  • last French teaching
    • (this is not a forever goodbye, of course, but it will be fun to change to English teaching for a while)

I feel like this year was the beginning of a couple of years of goodbyes. I’m saying goodbye to California this year and moving to France. I’m also (finally) saying goodbye to my masters research project. Next year, I’ll have to say goodbye to France and all of my amazing experiences there. The following year, I’ll hopefully be saying goodbye grad school as I finish writing my dissertation for the PhD program. I’ll also be saying goodbye to my 20’s that year, which is a little daunting. But then hopefully the year after that, I can settle into a (relatively) stable life.

I’ve moved around a lot, I’ve done a lot of school, a lot of soul-searching, and met a lot of people, but I’m ready to be somewhere I can plant some roots.

I feel like I’m almost ready to call myself an adult.

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