Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Epilogue


Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Epilogue
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Epilogue


Reno Bondi

What can I say that I learned on this trip? How undeniably in love I am with France? I already knew this. I guess it was a reminder of what life could be like. Sure, there is a sort of aspect that comes with every vacation that makes it larger than life, dream-like perfect. But people really do live like this. Riding the metro, grocery shopping at the outdoor markets, grabbing lunch at a quaint café on the corner. This is real life.

I kept quiet more, or rather, I was allowed to keep quiet more. In American culture, it’s common and accepted to make small talk and smile at strangers. In France, one keeps to themselves and avoids unnecessary eye contact. When you do speak, it’s deliberate and polite. I kind of miss being left alone now that I’m back. Sure, I appreciate friendliness, but it’s nice when people mind their own business.

Everyone needs to travel internationally. Everyone. And yes, they need to. I don’t count this as much of a life changing experience, frankly because I’m more globally aware than my peers. But it was astounding how much some of my fellow classmates complained on this trip because they were failing to adapt. They couldn’t wait to get back home; back to their sweatpants and comfort food, overly friendly strangers and data plans, back to America, home of the familiar. It made me mad. How can one be so simple and narrow minded? I guess I will never know, nor do I want to. Trying something new should make you uncomfortable (to some degree). It’s a new experience! You’ve never tried it before! The failure to reach understanding comes from a rejection to keep trying. When you stop trying, you revert back to what you know, your old self, and what you gained is now lost.

I want to travel more. I’ve always wanted to, but now the urge is stronger. There is so much out there to experience and discover. More cultures to learn about, customs to understand, monuments to revel at.

Hands down the best experience was the food. Two weeks was not enough. Remember the trifecta I talked about in Family Life? Imagine having that all day, every day. It is real and it is glorious, my friends.

The French people are actually quite nice, despite this strange American assumptions that the French are rude. I’m not sure where it came from or how it started, but from my talks with fellow countrymen, it was a held stereotype. Though, I can understand why this would be the case. Any sales associate or waiter working in Paris probably gets fed up after a while of dealing with ignorant tourists. You’d be too.

I would have loved to experience France with a better understanding of the language. Granted, I had the best grasp of it out of the group, but it wasn’t at the level I wanted it to be. It’s not a requirement of travel, but I highly recommend it!

A nuisance came from the sheer number of tourists in Paris, most of which are not mindful travelers. When you yourself express a certain etiquette, it’s only natural to expect that in return.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

To sum up this great big long rant fest, it’d be this; travel. Get out there and go! You’re nervous? Sure you are, that’s natural! It’ll be worth it in the end, having a great experience over wondering what it would have been like. Sure, I missed a week of school and am now playing catch up faster than a Heinz factory worker, but was it worth it? Yes. You may not click with every culture you encounter, but what you take away from the experience is more than want you can explain in an article or capture on a camera. It’s a total shift in self-awareness and self-understanding. Money can get you there, but money can’t buy that experience. It comes from you when you open and take what the world has to offer. The only person standing in your way is yourself. Go and do the thing. You’ll thank me later.

Emma (Reno) Bondi
LEAF Contributor