Study abroad reflections – La vie en rose….bottes

By: Chelsea K., University Relations Coordinator, API Texas

(former API France/Rome/Syracuse Program Manager, and former API student in Grenoble, France: French Language & Culture Semester Program)

I am obsessed with snow. As a native Texan, my brief encounters with frozen precipitation in my childhood were enough to ignite my imagination. I remember one Christmas in particular, my four sisters and I- all sick with chickenpox- pressed our noses to the glass of our front window as we watched the first snowfall of my life. I collected winter-themed greeting cards, cut pictures out of magazines, and wrote college entrance essays about my personal pursuit of this most elusive of goals. Snow became more of an ideal to me- this symbol of things that I wanted to attain but would need to first overcome circumstance (like the warm Texas winter.)

It is no surprise then that I chose to study abroad with API in Grenoble, France– a city on the same latitude line as Boston and nestled between mountain chains of the French Alps. Snow was certain. I excitedly prepared for my longest love affair yet with snow- a new coat, scarves, gloves and these beauties:

The Pink Boots

A blindingly pink pair of American Eagle galoshes. I congratulated myself on my practicality- all of my planning skills on display in bright pink rubber, evidence of my foresight to plan for when all of that lovely snow melted. I was eager to wear them.

The first snows of my Grenoble winter are well documented.

snowfall in Grenoble

My host family thoroughly enjoyed my wonderment at the most mundane (and énervant!) of winter activities. The first day I pulled on my pink boots to begin the slushy journey to the bus stop I was filled with excitement. My plan worked! My feet were warm and dry! They added what I thought was a much needed “pop” of color! I was not expecting the unwelcome reception my boots received. I wasn’t expecting the questions, the gesture, the strange looks, and the laughs. I should have seen it coming. My host family’s wardrobe was mostly monochromatic. A red scarf purchased for my host sister was worn once and then tucked away into a drawer filled with black, navy, and brown.

"gear"ing up for the weather

I know there’s a metaphor in here somewhere. Something about celebrating our differences; to not be afraid to wear your pink boots; to adjust when the carefully considered plans don’t work out the way you expected them to; or that whatever your “snow” may be you TOO can achieve what you set your mind to.

As I write this, I am traveling for API in a very snowy part of the country. My snow resistant coat hangs over a chair, my boots nearby. Snowflakes fall outside and I am so glad that study abroad has helped me fulfill so many of my lifelong goals- including more snow than I ever imagined.

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Comments

  1. Hey, really great blog post… I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog because of the great style and energy. I actually work for the CheapOair travel blog. If you’re interested, we would love to have you on as a guest blogger. Please send me an e-mail: gchristodoulou(at)cheapoair(dot)com, and I can give you more information. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. de Rocca-Serra says

    Chelsea, I will never forget your Pink boots!!!! It was a ray of sunshine in the muddy weather.

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Apr 29, 2021 @ 18:30
👋 Hi everyone! I'm Eryn Fleener a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, studying Early Childhood Education. I studied abroad with API Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy! I will be taking over API Instagram tomorrow, make sure you follow along!
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