I've been putting this off since I got home because I'm not ready to admit that it's done. After a fantastic two week vacation with my mom, I've been back in the USA for nearly two weeks now. While I normally posted pictures throughout my previous vacations, this time I wanted to maximize the last of my European adventure. Reuniting with my mom at London Heathrow after ten long months was just like the scene from Love Actually. Introducing her to her family in Estonia was a unique and unforgettable opportunity. Capping our trip off with Paris was the perfect way to end my French experience. Though I wouldn't say it's the end...
|That song is all wrong... London Bridge is still there! And isn't my mom beautiful?|
|At Buckingham Palace after the Changing of the Guard|
|We had an awesome spot right by the gate to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace|
I am adjusting to life in Seattle. At this point, I understand the saying "you can't go home again." Life here doesn't quite feel the same here but it's mostly because I am different. Though it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what has changed (maybe you could tell me?), I am not the same girl I was last year. I've grown in ways that life in Seattle couldn't offer. I've endured the sting of homesickness, made a home for myself on the other side of the world, and figured out how to do a lot of things on my own. It wasn't always easy or fun but it was always worth it. I learned that the American way is not the only way and while I like teaching, I do not want to be a teacher. The last weeks of teaching were really tough; I was ready to pack my bags at the beginning of June. And then I met someone really special who had me backpedalling and dreading my return flight. Leaving was insanely difficult when I realized that I'd felt at home in northern France and had made connections that I wasn't prepared to leave. I'll be back some day... I'll figure it all out; I've gotten good at that.
|Me, Aunt Aino, and Mom... Three generations of Salu women.|
|There's a whole lot of love between these two!|
|Mom, Jane, and Tiina at the youth song festival in Tallinn|
|There were only about 80,000 people there...|
|Papa's oak tree! I love that there was an oak planted for each of the boys but what about the girls!|
|I already miss randomly passing castle ruins!|
|Mom and here cousins; Tiina singing for the camera, Elmo, and Eino|
|Our family stone. Surprisingly, our family has detailed history recorded that starts with Kubja Hans in1684.|
|I thought I could get away with just smelling it.... but I took a bite, too!|
|We couldn't be related...|
|Third time's a charm! But it stings with slightly burnt skin!! Mom, you're a true Estonian now!|
|Don't mess with her...|
|Watchout, Pagans! Mom made a cross with the blacksmith (his first).|
|Had to leave this one in Tartu.|
|Peekaboo! I see you!|
|Kissing Students Statue in Tartu|
|There's no doubt we're related. Miss you Aunt Aino, can't wait to come back to Estonia some day!|
My teaching contract is over, I'm back in Seattle, but I haven't closed the book on this chapter of my life. It's something I'll carry with me for years to come. It's renewed my love for French language, inspired a world traveler, connected me to family in Estonia, and introduced me to who I think I really am. I followed my dream and it's shaped me in ways that won't be undone. Now it's time for you to pursue your own dreams. You'll be thankful for it! Just don't thank me, thank yourself. But I do thank you for following me along the way.
|Mom would move to Paris in a heartbeat.|
|Paris, je t'aime!|
|My favorite place in Paris... spent an afternoon there with one of my favorite people! <3|
|Our last morning was seen from beneath this umbrella...|
|Cheers to a fabulous life in France, vacation with mom, and here's to my next adventure!|
Now that I've fulfilled my dream to live in Europe, I'm working on pursuing my next dream... Wonder what adventures it'll bring along the way? I'll never know until I try.