Monday, July 2, 2012

unanswered prayers

I didn't really enjoy my first year of college.  The dorms were over capacity, so I lived off campus. I didn't really find my classes challenging.  And I worked in a nearby mall that wasn't actually nearby when you factored in LA traffic.

My roommates didn't really work or attend class much either.  I came home to a lot of parties, which was awesome some of the time.  Other times, I found random people passed out in my bed. Not so awesome.
After the first year, I moved back home, which for me, at the time, was a huge personal failure.  I attended the junior college there and after a year, decided I would transfer back down south, but to San Diego this time.  I had lots of plans.

My best friend decided she would come with me and we found an apartment near school.  I sold my car and bought a new one that I could trust on drives back home or road trips (Vegas!).  And I had already talked to my manager about transferring to the store down there.

I planned on transferring in the spring semester.  I didn't apply to any other schools since I really didn't want to go anywhere else and I wasn't worried about getting in. I had good grades, was on the dean's list and had already gotten into the school when I applied in high school. No sweat.

But when I hit the submit button on the online application, a window popped up that said only San Diego residents could apply for spring due to overcrowding.

It may as well have said, "your dreams have been crushed you're never getting a college degree", because that's how I felt.  If I wanted to go there I would have to wait until the fall semester, a full 8 months later! That was unacceptable, and devastating to me.  But it was too late to apply anywhere else.

I just kept thinking, 'How could this happen?  I thought I did everything right.'  And how I badly wanted to move to San Diego.  I pictured beach parties and living with my best friend.  It was supposed to be the like the college you see in movies.  That's what I wanted!

I would sit on the computer doing searches about different schools just desperately looking for anything with no real confidence that I'd find what I was looking for.  I wanted San Diego.  I had planned on San Diego.

I don't know what made me think of it.  I think I was so shocked and feeling so lost that I was just grasping at anything. The semester before I had studied abroad in Paris.  During one of my classes there we attended a lecture at the American University.  I still have no idea why it even came to me to look the school up.

The school sounded amazing.  But who gets to go to school in Paris? No one I knew.  Even as I was looking through the website it didn't even seem like a possibility, just something fun to dream about.

My mom stood over my shoulder reading about the curriculum and the student body.  Then she said, "this is the first school I've read about that seems like a perfect fit for you".  I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes.  "Who just moves to Paris out of the blue?"

She said, "Why don't you just see if you can apply?"  I checked.  I could.  I sent in my application with very little confidence that anything would come of it.

A few weeks later a thick envelope came in the mail from France.  I was in.  It felt real then, like it really could be possible.  I still don't really know how we did it, but somehow two months later I was living in Paris.  And I spent the next two years getting two college degrees, meeting amazing people from all over the world and traveling around Europe.

This weekend I was sorting through some of my old photos, trying to create some sort of organization from the mess that comes from switching computers every couple of years.  As I looked through my photos, trying to identify cities and time periods, I realized that even though I've moved back to where I started from, so much that has happened in my life because of my time in Paris.  
Had I moved to San Diego as planned my life would be 100% different.

Thank God we don't get everything we want in life.

*all images original to Champagne Reveries


  1. This is an amazing story! Not that Paris is San Francisco, but I moved there for school very spontaneously and it changed my life. My best friend went to American University and loved her semester in Paris. How amazing that you spent two full years! Are you fluent in French?

    1. Thanks Sabra! I'm sure SF was amazing. It's such a great city! I wish I was fluent in French. I spoke much better when I was there but since I haven't used it for so long, I sort of lost it. I keep telling myself I'm going to start practicing again but life keeps getting in the way.

  2. You know what, I didn't like my first semester of college either...I think sophomore year was my favorite.
    Hope to go to SF one day. Looks amazing!

  3. What a lovely post. And what an incredible experience that will shae the rest of your life! You are so fortunate!

  4. I love how so many people's roads lead them to Paris! J'adore Paris.


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