19 August 2009

Reflections on a year in France

So this week brings me to the end of my adventures in France. I head back to Los Angeles on Thursday. I guess I feel like I need to do some sort of closing blog to finish out my year. I don’t know exactly what direction I want it to go in, but I’m thinking that a few things I have learned, some of my favorite memories, things I will miss the most, and some final pictures. This will probably be my last blog, unless I decide to keep writing about random things. But who knows. Here goes nothing.

I guess first off, I just want to say that it has been an absolute incredible year in France. I have had experiences that some people can only dream of, I have made friends from all over the world, I have learned a new language and culture, and I have grown as a person. In all honesty, I am not at all ready to leave. I’m actually having a really hard time accepting the fact that I’m going back and I have been avoiding it for awhile now. I am trying to make each moment last because I really don’t want Thursday to come. There are parts of me that want to go back to the states, but most of me just wants to stay here. I have grown accustomed to my life here and my friends here.

I have developed a new way of eating that I don’t even know if it is possible to continue in the states. The food here is so fresh and healthy. It’s so easy to eat crap in the US, and here it takes extra effort. Not just the specific foods, but the way we eat here. A meal in France is so much more than just putting food in your mouth. It’s an event, a chance to reflect and connect with people around us. An average meal lasts about 2 ½ hours, oftentimes even longer. I love the way we start a meal with an aperitif and snacks in the living room. Then we move to the dining room or outside if it’s nice. We have the regular meal with wine. Then after everyone is done with that, we eat cheese, then dessert, then coffee, and all the while chatting and laughing and just enjoying the company of each other. I feel like this is a lost art in the US and that makes me really sad.

Another aspect of my life that has changed is the amount of walking I do. There is rarely a reason to take the car because of how close stuff is. And the public transportation is good too so even if something is far, you still don’t need the car. I am afraid that I will too easily fall back into driving everywhere when I return. I feel so much healthier after being here. I do know that my new apartment isn’t far from a lot of stuff, so I’m hoping to do some walking that way. There are tons of shops and restaurants in an area called old town Pasadena and if I can walk whenever I go there I should be okay.

I really don’t want to leave my friends. I know I have friends back in the states, and I cannot wait to see all of them. But to think right now about the possibility of never seeing some of these people again really kills me. I thank God everyday for the people he has put in my life this past year. At first, I made only au pair friends. That was cool, but I had a huge desire to have French friends. I prayed that God would give me some good French friends. He did just that. First he led me to an incredible church in Paris that accepted me with open arms. Through this church I began making amazing friends and it is these that I do not want to leave. Tatiana, Sylvain, Jean-David, Gaelle, Isabelle, and soooo many more. We have so many fun experiences together and I am truly going to miss each of them. I have been so blessed to have been so accepted by these people. A big thanks to each of you. I will never ever forget you and I pray that we will meet again in the future. At least I know that Tatiana will be coming to visit in November. And actually Sylvain and Jean-David are probably coming as well. I really hope so, as we are a really close foursome that has had the best moments together. Just this past weekend we went down to Orleans (hour south of paris) and hung out at the 2 guys parents house (they are brothers). We love to do spur of the moment things and just have fun.

Well I started writing this a few days ago and haven’t had a chance to finish it. So I’m just going to cut it off there and try to finish when I get back to the states. Ill put up pictures and all sorts of stuff. So everything I said about this being my last post…I take it back. So check back!

I’m currently repacking all my bags trying to somehow make it not be overweight. Ugh. Pray for me guys! I have a stressful 36 hours ahead of me….AHHHHHHHHHHH

1 comment:

Dave Lillich said...

Thanks for sharing your memories--you'll have them for a lifetime as well as the friendships. Welcome back to your real world -- for now. Love, Pop