P.S. I Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my lovely readers!

Some people love Valentine’s Day and others detest it. I, however, fall into the first category: I really love Valentine’s Day (and Galentine’s Day, for that matter!). My inner, hopeless-romantic self is all about it! Being in France has opened my eyes to so many things: about myself, my faith and future, about what’s ultimately most important and to what I really love and care about. Thus far, this has been a life-changing experience in more ways than I can effectively communicate over the internet and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My love for France, the French language, and travel have grown to mountainous proportions since arriving and I can only assume the uphill trend will continue. In the spirit of the 14th day of February, here is a list of 14 things that I absolutely adore about living and working in France.

1.) Cheap transportation, especially if you are under the age of 26…
What a wonderful thing, to be young and in France (and possess a carte jeune)! I love the train system, BlaBlaCar, FlixBus, and how cheap flights can be if you look at the right time. It makes living here, but also exploring the continent, so much easier.

2.) …and also free and reduced-price entrance fees into museums and monuments for being young.
Shout-out to my pass d’education/TCU ID card/young age for saving me money this year. You’re the real MVP(s).

3.) Traveling
I have definitely fallen more in love with traveling since coming to France. I was by no means anti-travel before moving abroad, but I also didn’t see the vastness of the reward of spending money on a flight and lodging to go to a brand new place when I didn’t even know if I would like it. Thankfully, my eyes have been opened and I now thoroughly enjoy exploring and traveling to new places.

4.) The food
As if I even need to explain this one. French food is amazing and it has ruined me in all the best ways.

5.) The expansion of my wine palette
There was a time not long ago where I could hardly stomach a red wine and I though Barefoot Moscato was the holy grail…man oh man, how times have changed. My wine palette has over gone a transformation of its own and let me just say, I am here for it.

6.) NOT having to drive
People may have thought I was crazy (or maybe just weird) for waiting until I was 20 to get my driver’s license, but that is because I really just do not enjoy driving. I got over my detestment (I know that is not a word, but we’re going for it anyway) for a bit during my last year at TCU, but being here has reignited that fire. I should say that I’m extremely lucky to have amazing colleagues who will drive me anywhere I need to go, but there is almost no part of me that misses the action of driving.

7.) My job
I think it is safe to say that I have fallen in love with teaching. Are all my lessons perfectly successful? Absolutely not. Are all my students motivated and excited to learn English? Nope. But there is just something about being able to work other professionals who are just as excited to be working with students as you are that makes being in the classroom so incredibly fun.

8.) My students
Ugh, I love them. I love the way some of them get really excited when they find out it is their turn to work with me, how so many of them smile and say “hello” to me when they see me outside the classroom, and seeing them successfully communicate with each other (and me) in English brings me so much joy. They make me so happy 🙂

9.) How relaxed I feel 95% of the time
Working only 12 hours a week has done wonders for my mental and emotional health. While I definitely still have my fair share of stressful moments/situations/days, not being so go, go, go all the time like I was during college has been a huge blessing that I was not expecting from being a part of this program.

10.) Being able to speak French
As I didn’t have the opportunity to study abroad during college/this is my first time abroad, my stint in Clamecy has been the first time I’ve been truly immersed in the French language and I love it. I am so far from perfect when it comes to listening comprehension and speaking, but I absolutely adore having the opportunity to speak French every single day.

11.) Having the opportunity to get comfortable with the uncomfortable
There are so many days, especially during the first month or two, that I was rather uncomfortable with my life here in France. I was frustrated by my inability to accurately and fully express myself in French, I had sudden bursts of homesicknesses that I wasn’t expecting, and there was a part of me that just wanted to hop back on a plane to Texas and never look back. I was desperate to leave all these uncomfortable feelings behind and return to a place that is familiar and comfortable. As the days have passed and I’ve spent more and more time here in Clamecy, those intense, hard feelings have dissolved. I’ve gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable, which was a life experience I most definitely needed to have, and I am unbelievable grateful for it.

12.) Blogging
Another thing I have fallen in love with over the past six months: blogging! Before I created You Had Me at Bonjour, I was a big fan of reading blogs but I never imagined I would have a reason/opportunity to make one for myself. However, grace à TAPIF, here we are today! I don’t know what the future holds for me but I do know that no matter what, I would like to continue to document my “frenchie adventures” for many months (dare I say years?!) to come.

13.) My soul feels at home
This feeling of is nearly impossible for me to describe. Of course I love being at my physical home in Illinois and after four years in Texas, the home that was created for me in Fort Worth was beautiful and undoubtably everything I needed during my time in college, but here in France, my soul feels like it has found it’s physical place in the world. It’s hard to wrap my head around because even though I am far from speaking perfect French and there are some things that make living in France difficult, I am so genuinely happy to just be living this life; I feel grounded and lovely and peaceful, which is a mix of feelings that I have yet to experience in this capacity anywhere else. My soul is oh so fulfilled.

14.) Falling in love…
I fall in love in France each and every day. With every bisous, each “ça va?”, too many baguettes, those great glasses of wine, and every single moment of laugher, happiness, and joy in between, I can, without a shadow of a doubt, say that I have fallen head over heels in love here in France. My wish for my readers is that each one of you, in some way, form, or fashion, experience love–for or from, something or someone–in the same manner.

With love and until next time,

Michaela

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