“Au Revoir” Really Means “Until I See You Again”

Who knew that two months could be so long, and yet so short? I come upon the end of my program with both a relief and a sadness–while I am ready to go home, I realize that this is the end of a period of my life. It is unlikely that I will ever live and work in Paris again. This will have been the part of my life were I was an american working in Paris.

I am incredibly grateful both for the raw, information-centered learning that I have acquired during my stay here. That is to say, the chance to observe and aide in the operations of the gallery has been invaluable. I have always considered myself an “arts person,” and even when I transferred into the business school, I knew that I wanted to take my education and apply it to the arts world. My interests and coursework lead to an interest in the business-minded functions of art galleries and museums, and I was lucky enough to find myself at Galerie Maeght. Because I got such a full view of the gallery’s business model, I am now leaving my internship with a greater confidence that I have a found a path that will lead me to a fulfilling career in the arts.

But I am astounded by the skills that I never thought could be in my repertoire. In the bookstore, I was required to welcome clients and assist with sales. In the United States, I work in stage management, so I rarely interact with clientele. I am also not always a people-person. So with this new responsibility, I doubted that I’d be very good, but I still applied myself. I found that interacting with customers was my favorite part of the day, even if they were indecisive, demanding, standoffish, or even outright rude. I’d love to continue working in sales, if just for now. And I must say that I’m proud of myself for applying myself to and developing a skill that I thought was out of my reach.

I may be ready to go home, but I also know that part of me wants to stay. Two months, cruelly enough, is just enough time to start to get the feel of a city and its people, of the rhythm it runs on and the worlds you can dive into, and now we have to leave. The bittersweetness of the end of a period of my life is hard to miss. But to say that I’ve been lucky to be here and to have learned is an understatement. And I know I’ll be back. I’m not sure I’ll be kept away for long.