Bonjour from International Space University!

Elizabeth's journal about her experience at International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Read on to find out what she did...

Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm home...

I am officially back in Houston. It took 21 hours to get here, but I'm here! The last few days in Strasbourg were very emotional for everyone. Friday we spent the morning "deregistering", returning keys to ISU, and collecting our reports, etc. That afternoon was when the first of my good friends, Andi (from Germany), left. I wasn't really expecting it because I had not had time to think about the fact that we were all really leaving, but everyone was crying. After spending 2 months eating, sleeping, working, and playing with the same people, we've become like family.

The closing ceremony and reception were that evening. The associate administrator of NASA, Rex Geveden, was among the list of distinguished speakers. They were followed by one of the students from our class, James (from Australia). James was selected by the class to give a speech, and he did a great job. He reminded everyone of all of the fun things we did and all of the incredible experiences we had (both good and bad). He made everyone laugh and cry. He even got a standing ovation at the end.

That night everyone that was left went out one last time. There were still people in the courtyard of our dorms at 5 in the morning talking, hugging, and crying. We all had to turn in our keys to the dorm by 11 Saturday morning. There was a small group of us that weren't leaving until the next morning, so we went out for lunch and walked around the city one last time. One of the teaching associates, Jessica (from Canada) was nice enough to let me and Melissa (from Washington DC) stay in her room that night. We were up to say goodbye to Antonio (from Italy), Violetta (from Russia), and Luigi (from Italy) at 4:30 that morning. Then we got a cab to the airport where we celebrated Luigi's birthday before heading off to our gates. Melissa and I had the same flight to Paris, so we spent the flight reminiscing the last two months and what an incredible experience it has been.

This has been an experience that I will never fully be able to explain, but I think I learned a little more about people, life, love, and happiness. It reminded me that I want to enjoy and cherish every moment with the people around me. It was hard to leave ISU because I left 103 pieces of my heart behind with it, but the experiences were worth the pain that I now have in my heart. The moments I will remember and cherish most were the smiles, laughter, and even tears that were shared.

I spent the last two months wondering what I should do with my career, what my goals and interests in life really are, and what is most important to me. I'm not sure I've come to any real conclusions about everything, but the one thing this experience reinforced is that people are what is most important to me, and my goal today is to live with passion. The kind of passion that warms your heart and makes you smile from the inside out. I thank each of the people at ISU for the passion they have shown me for space and for life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you missed saying goodbye to me!!!! :(

6:49 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I'm glad you made it home safe and sound. It sounds like your time there was just an incredible experience filled with new friendships and new learning experiences. I am so happy that you got through it and are back at home.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Elizabeth! Love, Brandi

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said, Elizabeth. It was quite an experience - Tracy

11:33 PM  
Blogger Marco said...

We had a great time, I'm looking forward to visiting you someday.

10:24 PM  

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