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Miriam Amdur
over 1 year Toronto, ON, Canada Story
Thoughts Before I Leave for Exchange

As I wash my bras in the sink, a testament to my last-minute packing, the idea that I’m leaving for a four-month exchange tomorrow becomes so much more real. I hold fears, excitement, anticipation, and worry. I’m going to miss walking down to the kitchen and venting about the day to my mom, but I know that soon enough I’ll be able to do that again. Meanwhile, an experience of a lifetime awaits, and the 15-year-old me would be smiling.

Like most teenagers, I was confused and anxious. In grade 10 I began struggling with math, a subject I had always excelled in, and I found myself in a constant state of melancholy. Meanwhile, as an Arts student, I was praised for my drama performances, and I quickly picked up the French concepts put before me. A slight and temporary increase in popularity around this time, which I can grant to acting, led me to believe I should become an actress, but more than that–an actress in Paris. My parents thought otherwise.

I become enchanted by French films, my favorites being La Vie en Rose and Coco avant Chanel, and watched the first scene of Midnight in Paris at least 10 times. It was something about the French easiness that attracted me, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ I suppose.

Now, five years later, the roads have turned. I’m studying business at one of the best programs in the country, and I’m heading to Strasbourg, France. About a year ago, I stopped for a minute during a French exam to look at the clock; it hit me at what calmness I was writing and how efficiently I could share complex thoughts. The progress made me emotional, but I kept writing, knowing that the time was running out.

I can’t help but think how thankful I must be. To have best friends whom I can laugh with, cry with, and argue with. To have a brother who supports all my ideas. To have the most selfless and caring parents in the world. But most of all to feel loved, and love deeply in return.

My mom recently admitted to me, that after reading the book of famed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg–The Women I Wanted to Be–she felt justified in giving me the freedom to travel and make my own major life decisions. Because Diane’s mother had given her that same freedom, and it’s with that ability to curiously pursue the unknown that success is built. We also had a discussion, when I had my Parisian actress phase, and I told my mom that I have two options: first, I could live cautiously, or I could chase my dreams and gamble for success. I’ve chosen to live by the latter, and it’s with this trip that I embrace it. 

I’ll be writing weekly posts on my exchange. So can keep updated by following this page! 


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International Business Student. Writer. Traveler. Cuisinier.

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