A few extra thoughts …. (found this draft on my wordpress dashboard and thought it was pretty eloquent. Figured I should share … )
I cannot believe that those seven months have passed this quickly. I had many ups and downs throughout but overall I became such a strong person because of this experience. I think that the only thing that made leaving not hurt so much is the fact that I will return in almost exactly two months. I will be in Marseille again July 27 – November 30 ! Again, always having another trip to look forward to makes saying this temporary goodbye a bit easier.
So some summaries of this trip…
What I loved:
- Great French wine for cheap
- Music: 4 operas, 3 symphonic concerts, 1 sacred music, 1 pop/indie, 1 gypsy music festival, 1 klezmer clarinet, 3 brass fanfares. It was always so easy to find something to do here. Every day there was something if I wanted to take the effort to go out.
- That as of April 23rd I can use the rental bikes for 30 mins for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week !!! Changes my life on the corniche !
- My French classes at l’Alliance Francaise and meeting all of the wonderful citizens of the world there. Making great friends through this learning experience made a huge difference in my stay here. My friends from this class may not be French ones but wow, they are awesome and I am sure some are lifelong.
- Sharing my American (Kentucky) culture with other open and interested French people. Some didn’t care to even ask me questions but those who did appreciated learning about me, my family and where I am from and I loved hearing about them. I appreciate these open individuals, they make up for the ones that are exactly the opposite.
- My awesome tiny apartment and awesome landlord (and family). They have been so sweet with me and patient with my French! They even took me to the airport when I left !! At 5:00 am !! So awesome !
What I didn’t love:
- No Cheddar cheese / Monterey jack … the normal cheeses for an American. with all of the cheese options it seems to me that they would represent these as well. Things like Quesadillas are more difficult to make ridiculously delish without these ingredients.
- Lack of Rum and cokes / mixed drinks in general. When I go out I would like a nice whisky/bourbon (I am from KY) or simply a Rum and Coke or some Tequila…this is not always an option. which makes me sad.
- Buses that show up early, or way late.
- Stinky people – not everyone here is this way, but when you live in a warmer climate and everyone is smooshed together onto buses with arms in the air…not pleasant.
- Being spoken to in English when I am trying my very hardest to speak French … some do this even when I am correct. I try to remind myself that perhaps they just like speaking English. Instead, my crazy brain sees this as an insult to my French abilities.
- The time when the rental bikes were only in use before midnight.
- restaurants not serving food all day. I LOVE being in America when if I want lunch at 3pm this is not a problem. someone is ALWAYS open and willing to give me foods!!
What I have learned about myself:
- I am capable of great things.
- I am worth it. What is it, you ask? Everything. I am worth someone’s time, love, attention, respect, admiration…all of those good things. Even if I don’t remember this fact every day, I should. So I write it here to remind myself.
What I hope to achieve the next time:
- I hope I don’t forget all of the French I have learned while in the USA this summer. I am only home for about 60 days, you’d think this wouldn’t be enough to forget but when speaking English is so easy the French can simply leak out of my brain, escaping me, leaving me to start over in August…let’s hope not.
- Courage. For many things. Courage to step outside of my comfort zone, even more. Courage to lend my heart, even if it doesn’t last forever. Courage to try new things, ask more questions, go more places.
- Focus: I need to focus on my research. Marseille is no longer new and shiny to me. I need to use this fact, and the fact that I will be here for the majority of the next 2.5 years and focus on work, get results.
- One of my favorite quotes, words to live by – Thoreau said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined”. I never imagined this life, I may have dreamed it but I could never imagine living this adventure. So I say this to you, and to the present and future me —
Dream as big as possible. It’s okay to fall short but you’ll never know unless you try!