20 hours of traveling, 7 bags, 9 months, 20 students, 18 countries, 34 cities, and countless moments shared with friends and family, I am finally home!

7 bags made easy with the help of some great friends and a nice porter at the airport!

While trying my best to wrap my mind around all the magical experiences encountered while living abroad, there is one quote that comes to mind when summarizing my journey. I discovered this quote when I was in the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, which overlooks Notre Dame and the Seine River in Paris. The second floor of the quaint shop is filled with notes written by visitors from across the world covering walls and reading nooks. I chose to write on the back of my Eiffel Tower ticket the message: “Be Extraordinary.” I took my note and replaced it with one that was folded in thirds dangling above my head. As, I opened the note, grinning ear to ear, I read:

“For that is hoped for, for all that is dreamed, may your life’s journey be joined with others and may peace and blessings be yours all the days of your life. May the desires of your heart be recognized and fulfilled.”

I couldn’t think of a more befitting and perfect mantra to describe my Fulbright experience!

These next few days will be filled with unpacking, laundry, catching up on sleep, visiting as many friends and family as possible, before I start packing again! This Saturday, I’ll be driving to Fort Wayne, as I will be serving as a Voting Delegate at the Indiana Democrat Convention, and then will be heading south that evening for Indiana State University. I am excited to once again be serving as a counselor for the week of Hoosier Girls’ State, an organization that has been close to my heart since I attended as a delegate in 2006.

How wonderful it is continuing to immerse myself in learning opportunities where I can better comprehend and appreciate my role as a responsible citizen.

Blessed be,

Lauren

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