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This morning is the same as every other morning this summer. I thought maybe today would be extraordinary with the smell of butter croissants that my mother would have knocked out of a can and into the stove, or maybe a throng of people waiting for me in the living room, just waiting for me to wake up so they can jump up and celebrate my decision to leave all familiarity behind. With gifts of real palomino ponies and little live garden gnomes trying to stuff themselves into my suitcase.

But only the familiar smell of burnt coffee, the jingling sound of the dogs’ collars as they trot back and forth on the wooden floor, trail up to me and beg me stay. Apparently, this trip is like any other trip, nothing special about it (except that its really long) as there is no entourage waiting for me. I don’t need a whole entourage though when I have my parents–they are plenty of entourage for one college girl.

My mom has been so patient with me all week. She took me on endless searches for shoes and coats and little travel sized toiletries (yes, I NEED the mini hand sanitizer for three dollars!) and she never complained once.

My dad has been patient with me as well. He didn’t complain when I made him buy a V-neck shirt or when I demanded a mini-umbrella instead of taking a big one.

I know I sound like a brat–but I wasn’t doing it on purpose. The stress of preparing to leave the country for a year tends to morph perfectly fine individuals into bratty, needy 20-year-olds. And that’s what I am right now.

Flight to Paris at 8:30pm ATL time tonight and my parents and I will arrive at 11:30am Paris time. À santé mes amigos americanos! I will write to you from Europe!