Winter Break: “Mini Tour” of Europe

For anyone who has ever traveled anywhere, you know that it’s not for the faint of heart. Before coming to France at the end of August, I made the decision to stay for the  year. As hard as it was at first, explaining to my friends and family that I wouldn’t be returning to the USA for Christmas or Spring Break, eventually they came on board and supported me. So, I bought a 1-way ticket and ended up here.

It’s been 3.5 months and 1 national holiday. In less than 2 weeks it will be Christmas and a week later, New Year’s. As most of my exchange friends prepare their return home at the end of the week, I am busying myself by planning my own European holiday. I will miss my family a lot for the holidays, but I am very much looking forward to doing something outlandish. Like traveling to Austria, for instance. Or staying with my hippy French aunt. Or spending New Year’s in Rome.

So, here’s my plan! At the end of this week, once finals are done kicking my ass, I will fly to the far-off-land of Vienna to meet a friend, Rebecca, where we hope to wreak havoc on another innocent part of Europe. Just playing. We’ll most likely milk a few cows, meet Schwarzenegger, and go prancing through the rolling hills of the prairie, singing The Sound of Music.

After that, I’ll catch a plane back to Nice, carpool with a complete stranger for 6 hours, and stay with my aunt and “rustic” French family in the boondocks of France. I expect it to be a very slow week in Auvergne, since it’s one of the least populated regions in all of Europe, and has more kinds of cheese than people. Considering the fact that my extended French family just recently got running water in the house, and still lacks an indoor bathroom, I suspect Christmas in Auvergne will be an interesting one… (more on that later)

To end winter break, I will fly from middle-of-nowhere France to the capital city of Italy, Rome. Gianna, a native Roman, will give the grand tour to me and my two exchange friends. Rome sounds pretty badass, in and of itself, but New Year’s in Rome should be la cerise sur le gâteau (the cherry on the cake). After that, it’s back to Antibes and 5 more months of this thing crazy thing called “study abroad.”

I’m looking forward to my “mini-tour” of Europe. 1 man, 3 countries. Can he do it? Oh, and I was serious about milking that cow…

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