After nine chaotic days filled with mayhem, violence and disruptions, the strike finally ended (for good) on Monday.

Negotiations between Sarkozy and the labor unions have started and are scheduled to continue for the next three weeks. If, however, the labor unions are unsatisfied with the result of the negotiations, they have announced a possible “follow-up” strike on December 23. Luckily, I leave the 22nd, and I am hoping that the metro workers won’t decide to skip out a day early.

The next few weeks are mostly filled with schoolwork, gift and souvenir shopping, and trying to make the most of the little time I have left in this vibrant city. I am still amazed at how quickly this semester has flown by and how many things I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience.

I am looking forward to spending the next few weeks with friends and last-minute travels, but I will honestly say that I am most anxiously awaiting my return home. I have missed all of the little mundane things that I rarely ever give a second thought: running errands to the grocery store, driving in the car listening to music, and having the space to do anything and everything. I have missed my family and friends, my cat, and the comfortable feeling of home. Paris is a wonderful city, especially to visit, but living here has changed my perspective. I was not used to living in a big city with public transportation, and even less so with a language that I call myself “proficient at most” in. But now that I’ve been here and done it all – I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This has been quite an interesting semester with two different strikes, visits to over five countries, and countless memories and experiences with people I had never met before this trip. But now, I am going home with friends who have shared the same laughs, the same frustrations, and the same awkward moments. After a semester abroad, I feel blessed for everything that I’ve learned and everything I’ve experienced, and even more so appreciative of the things I had before.

Even after I leave, Paris will remain the same, with its vibrant lights, quick pace, and countless boutiques and cafes … but in my mind, Paris will be totally different. It will have been my home, my life, and my own adventure, for four amazing months.