Faraway Hills Aren’t Always Greener

Presentation College Athenry

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence,

Provence,

France

Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope all is well at home and you’re not missing me too much! The weather is beautiful today. I’m lying on my bed right now, intermittently taking breaks from writing this letter to gaze out the window and take in the view.

The countryside is breath-taking, covered in rolling hills that bob up and down like waves in a sea of lavender flowers. There’s an old farm shed in the distance, its stone walls covered in creeping snakes of green ivy and a bright red door that pops against the landscape. I can see fields of grain further back that carry on for miles. It’s like a scene from a painting, and its beauty only doubles when you realise it is the view from your bedroom window and not a fantasy. I always take time to take in a deep breath, feeling the fresh, cool air fill my lungs and the calming scent of lavender put me at ease. The sun shines through the rustic, wood-paned window, tiny bits of dust sparkle and dance in the beam. It casts its light onto the desk in my room, illuminating the school books and stationery that lies there. I’m enjoying going to school here and I have made good friends with the other exchange students. Most of them are Irish so at least there is some sense of familiarity. This whole journey has been an amazing experience but if I’m being honest, I’m really starting to miss home. I miss looking out of my own bedroom window at the green, lush fields. I miss the smell in the air of freshly cut grass on a summer’s day, and I guess I even miss the less pleasant smells of slurry wafting through every open window and door, as although unpleasant, it’s part of being home. I miss sitting in the garden, watching the swallows glide and dance through the air, enjoying the sunshine that they have travelled so far to bask in. There’s an air of excitement that comes with the Irish summer that is just nowhere to be found over here. At the first sign of sun, every man, woman and child are out and about in a pair of shorts and a sunhat tucking into a 99 cone, slathered head-to-toe in an impermeable layer of sun cream, yet still somehow managing to get sunburnt. Paddling pools and outdoor toys are resurrected from the shed after a long hibernation and everyone stays outside until the sun finally dips under the horizon, leaving streaks of yellow, orange, pink and purple behind, painting the sky like a canvas. I think being away from home has allowed me to appreciate and admire it much more. France is beautiful and a couple of weeks ago all I wanted to do was leave Ireland. But now I realise that faraway hills aren’t always greener and although this was an incredible trip, I think my favourite journey will be travelling home.

See you soon!

Lots of love,

Loren.