Rainbows and Butterflies

Most days, being here in France (still) doesn’t feel like real life. I find myself in awe of the fact that I am actually here, living and working and falling in love with this place more and more every day.

Other days, however, are not as picturesque as I paint them out to be on this blog.

Before I arrived in France, I was so confident that I wouldn’t really struggle with feeling homesick over here (or even just feeling sad or frustrated for that matter). Given that I spent four years in Texas, 900 miles apart from my immediate family, I thought I’d be relatively immune to those feelings, that I’d spend the entirety of the seven months I was over here riding on Cloud 9, forever dreading the day I had to get on a plane and go back home.

Boy, was I mistaken.

Some days are remarkably wonderful. Other days are just straight up hard.

Being here is grabbing my phone when I think about calling my family members or friends, but then doing the time difference math and realizing it’s impossible to do so without waking someone up.

It’s spending a lot of time feeling unbelievably discouraged because I can’t understand French as well as I’d like to, and on the rare occasions that I do accurately follow a conversation, it’s never finding the right words to express myself as thoroughly as I’d like.

It’s getting annoyed at myself with how often I have to ask someone to repeat themselves that I eventually just give up and hope for the best.

It’s spending a lot of time building up my self-confidence only to have it waver and fall at the next social interaction.

It’s feeling home tugging on my heartstrings so strongly that it’s impossible to ignore.

It’s being in a weird mental place of loving France so much I never want to leave while simultaneously wishing I could hop on a plane back to Texas or Illinois and never look back.

It’s being struck in the dichotomy of loving something so much that is so beyond challenging that it makes it impossible to decide how to feel about it all.

I know I’m lucky to be where I am today. In fact, I’m well aware that things could be so much harder than they are. I’m lucky to have a roommate and fellow assistant who I get along with so well, colleagues who are so incredibly kind, and students who I adore.

At my core, I know that this opportunity to teach in France is indispensable, or even ineluctable, for my personal growth and life story. I also know that one day, I’ll find myself desperately homesick for Clamecy and as my dear friend from home put it, “you get to come back to us a whole lot easier than going back to France will be”.

Do I expect that, after bearing my soul on this blog post, life will be hunky-dory and I’ll never have a hard day over here ever again? Absolutely not.

However, I am hopeful for a future here in France filled with many more bright days than dark ones.

Here’s to making the most of every moment and remembering that through every challenge comes inconceivable amounts of growth.

Until next time,


7 Thoughts

  1. Hugs to you, Michaela!!!! I enjoy reading all of your posts and love seeing all your pictures on this journey. Hang in there as the holidays may be a little tough at times but the next several months will fly by. Enjoy every minute you can!! Dont forget…..on December 16th, we will all be at Aunt Laura’s so lets try to face time or skipe. Love you girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our sweet Michaela! Cultural “disconnect” is so difficult!!! When the Monks moved from Puerto Rico to Bartonville, they felt loved and incorporated – but since the Illinois locals spoke a Mexican style of Spanish and came from a very different cultural milieu than the Spanish speaking people from Mexico – they became lonely – surrounded by people but lonely – missing the intimacy of an unencumbered conversation instead of having a head breaking experience of translation at a rapid pace. Multi sensorial overload is difficult, and it will be God’s grace, your sweetness, your smile and your sensitivity for people that will make the language less important. One day you will simply discover how much of the local chatter you have unknowingly incorporated. We love you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michaela! That’s so true–one day, all these language struggles will (hopefully) be diminished and I’ll look back on this with a new perspective.

      (Also, I rarely, if ever, meet someone whose name is spelled the same way as mine, so this is so exciting!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know right! Amazing how many people struggle to pronounce it! Especially dealing with folks in different parts of the world! 😀🌍


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