That group of people is my Hometown Heroes.
Let me back up. It can be daunting to move to another continent by yourself. You know what makes that easier? Moving to another continent by yourself with the support of your #squad. Just because I did this by myself, doesn't mean I did it independently. I would never have been able to do this without my people "back home." (And by "back home," I mean in Texas, in Louisiana, and all over the States.)
So here's where I get to make my shout outs. Because guys? Guess what. I love ya.
My family: I remember the day that I told my parents and brothers (over Brandon's 17th birthday dinner at Hoffbrau) "I'm going to try to move to France next year." They didn't even bat an eye. We solved the one issue (what to do with Nolie*) within a few minutes over appetizers. They were just as supportive throughout the whole process. They never questioned my somewhat questionable decision of quitting my full-time job with benefits for a one-year penny-paying gig across the ocean without any certainty of regaining employment upon my return. They didn't blink when I moved in for three months before I left and seven months when I got back.** They lent me money at the end of the year so I could finish my travels. They not only supported me, but never stopped encouraging me that I had made a great decision. I could never thank them enough for this. I love y'all!
My best friends: I am convinced I have the best best friends in the world. I'm not kidding. I'm not just saying that. I am certain of it in my heart. The reasons might take an entire other blog, so I won't list them all here. I have somehow found all the good people, guys. Here's the thing: I left with the full knowledge that my close friendships would be intact when I returned. I have the kind of friends who still love me when I disappear for college, or grad school, or endless stretches of "can't come to the surface to breathe" non-stop teacher work. They understand and I am so thankful. They know I always come back. I knew that I would leave and our relationships would pick right up where we left off upon my return. (It didn't hurt that it was 2012-2013 and there was Skype, Facebook, email, and my FreeMobile phone plan.) But truly, they were so loving and so supportive and, just like I knew we would, we picked right up where we left off and kept going strong. I love y'all 5ever.
All of my friends and followers: I had SO much fun telling my stories on this blog. And the crazy part? Some people actually read it! Like you! You're reading this right now! Interacting with y'all, both on SYTYCF and on Facebook, made sharing so much more fun. It was an absolute joy to have you guys along for the ride and I hope that I sent a little joy back to you, too. I know this is two and a half years late, but thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking some of your precious time to read even a little of this blog. I am flattered and honored. (And, if you really did enjoy reading, stay tuned for my new blog, coming soon! Think less chronological, detailed, and temporary, more free-flowing, impressionistic, and long-term. It really is coming. I'm already writing. Expect it on an Internet near your summer 2016. Updated April 2016: New blog is now available! Come find me at www.katyontheroad.com.)
Basically, everyone I know was so supportive from the very beginning to the very end, and I feel so #blessed because of it.
Also, a HUGE special shout out to those of y'all who actually sent me things in France! From cards to packages, I appreciate the time, money, and effort that it takes to send something abroad. Y'all lit up my life (and decorated my room), and it made things so much easier to have a near-constant stream of love from home. Y'all are the BEST.
Now for the pictures. And the memories. On y va!
**Holy cow. I just realized that was seven months just now when I counted on my fingers. Wow. That happened.