I love my life in France; however, as I endure the 100+ degree weather that comes with living in the south, I can’t help but reminisce on the things and the people I left behind in Chicago.
I suppose the words, ‘left behind’, are a bit harsh. I didn’t really ‘leave’ anyone ‘behind’, though sometimes it looks that way since I’m thousands of km away.
In some ways, living in France has made my US relationships closer; in other ways, it’s done the opposite.
It’s hard to keep track of everyone when work, preparing for the arrival of a baby, and, well, just life in general runs its course. But, I try!
Thankfully, there’s Skype, FB, e-mail, courrier, and the various free texting aps I use to stay in contact with everyone. Oh, bien-sur, of course, there’s also visiting!
I’ve been fortunate in France – I have a loving partner and, together, we’ve turned our appartement into a home, I worked as an English Assistante during the 2014-2015 school year, I worked as an English Teacher from May-June, I have another English teaching job lined up for the 2015-2016 school year, I’ve made several friends (from a variety of nationalities), I’ve traveled in France as well as throughout Europe… I could make the rest of this blog about how lucky I am that I’ve been able to accomplish so much with so little. But, that’s not the point. I know I’m lucky to have been able to follow this dream of teaching overseas; however, I also know the sacrifices I made in order to get to this point.
In May 2014, I said, “Goodbye,” to so many family and friends. Now, when I leave after a nice visit with them, I replace, “Goodbye,” with “A bientôt!” (see you soon). So, I never really leave them behind.
However, there are definitely ‘things’ I left ‘behind’. For example, my precious car! (It’s safely stored away at my brother’s.) Oh, it felt so good driving him again (yes, he’s a male).
As I enter my 8th month of pregnancy, I’m starting to wonder if leaving the air conditioning behind was a good idea…
I left behind my dad’s grave, too, I guess we can’t have everything. But, it’s comforting to know that it’ll always be there – waiting for me when I visit. He’s always around – even in France – but, his grave and his main presence is in the US.
I left behind potential teaching jobs that offer a more consistent salary (bien-sur, if I were Francaise, I could take the CAPES test and have a similar teaching position in France that pays more), GOOD peanut-butter, Chipotle (as well as real Mexican food), big parking spots, my wonderful queen-sized bed (equipped with hundreds of pillows), and the ease of finding anything and everything (aka Wal-Mart, Target, Hobby Lobby) within a few minutes drive. It’s been a year and I’m still learning where to find stuff in France, which can be frustrating. For example, just yesterday, I finally found the store, Babou, that sells plastic drawers and tubs in varying sizes by the hundreds (simple things one could find at both Wal-Mart & Target)…and I wasn’t even looking for these things.
Even though I’ve left behind my life in the US, which makes me sad at times (a girl needs her mom at times, what can I say?), I’m happy with my life in France.
I wouldn’t change it for the world! I’ve embraced life here and I’ve found it difficult to completely ‘go back’ to the life I left behind. Now, to get my mom to visit… 😉 ♦