Chapitre 24: An Adventure Afoot in Lourmarin, France

On the official Lourmarin website, the village boasts that it is “one of the best villages in France.” I wonder how many villages in France actually lay claim to this?

Lourmarin

Lourmarin is part of the the “Lubéron région located in the Vaucluse département in the région de Provence – in the south of France.

Lourmarin

Lourmarin is an adorable little village nestled in a hillside at the base of the Lubéron massif.

Lourmarin

In 2012, my université had a day trip to visite three villages in the gion: Lourmarin, LaCoste, and Roussillon. It was an experience NOT to be missed and one to REPEAT!

Lourmarin

I spent most of the morning experiencing the village by foot.

Lourmarin

5 raisons to experience Lourmarin on foot:

  • There’s a Renaissance château. The Lourmarin ChâteauThe village boasts a lovely château with quite an histoire! Château de Lourmarin Fortress The château was constructed in three periods: The fortress was built during the XII and XIII centuries, the Vieux Château was created during the XV century, and the Château Neuf was added during the XVI century. Château de Lourmarin 2To save the château from a proposed demolition during the 1920s, historian and industrialist, Robert Laurent Vibert purchased it. With his death, he left the château (and all of its furnishings/art) in the hands of Aix-en-Provence. Every year, the château hosts artists and writers as well as musicians and various cultural events. Be sure to time it right in order to avoid crowds or be one with the crowd.

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    A fountain at Château de Lourmarin.

  • There’s a cemetery filled with graves and mausoleums from famous artists and writers among other non-famous people. Lourmarin CemeteryFamous author, Albert Camus’ grave is located in the Lourmarin Cemetery. Albert Camus' graveThere’s nothing better than strolling around a beautiful cemetery after a visit to the Lourmarin château.

    Lourmarin Cemetery

    Watering cans at the cemetery.

  • There’s the infamous Lourmarin marché. The village hosts an open market every Friday from 8:30-13:00 in the centre-ville. It’s a great way to experience the city-center!
  • There’s the Lourmarin wine! One great way to experience Lourmarin is drinking un verre de vin de Lourmarin on a terrasse in Lourmarin. Lourmarin wine is made in the Lubéron région and can be purchased at Les Caves du Château (at the base of the Lourmarin Château), La Cave à Lourmarin in the centre-ville, and many other wine caves that dot its winding streets.
  • There’s the Lourmarin architecture. LourmarinOk so Lourmarin architecture ressembles the typical Mediterranean architecture – the différence being in the colors used. For exemple, Lourmarin is famous for its blue shutters while other villages in southern France boast sea green or lavande shutters. There’s no better way to view such gorgeous blues than to embrace the cobblestone streets of the village on foot. Of course, not all the shutters are blue. 1

While one might need some form of transport to get to this beau village, once arrivé, the village can be completely experienced on foot.


“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

 

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S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

As my French studies were coming to an end, I had to make a décision: finish my degree without studying abroad or study abroad. I knew I owed it to my future French students to experience French first-hand, so, after months of debating the pros and cons, I made the décision to study abroad in France. It was the best décision I could have ever made in my life (and one of the most expensive décision, too)! There are two major characteristics that sum up my experience: smiles and sadness.

When I stepped onto the KLM flight, I had no idée what I was in for. I was nervous, excited, sad.

It’s true what they say after you return home: no one understands you (and you feel lonely as a result of this) and you are no longer the same person you were before you left home. Somewhere between the pain au chocolat, the hardcore French classes, meeting mon chéri, and traveling with my study abroad friends (SAFF), I became a changed woman. But, how did this happen?

I arrived in Aix in Septembre 2012.

It took me about a month and a half before I truly warmed up to the city.*

Why did it take this long? Well, for starters: I was alone for the first time Ever.

My boyfriend (of 7 years) at the time was hardly responding to my calls and texts. All of my family and friends were in the U.S. Needless to say, I felt like my life as I knew it was slipping through my fingers.

How did I overcome this feeling?

  • I made friends.

Chipotle in Paris. We. Just. Had. To.

  • I traveled with these friends.

Firenze, Italie.

  • I made progress in speaking, understanding, and communicating in a foreign language, so, ordering a baguette, a crêpe, a sandwich became easier.

  • I met mon chéri.

Traveling in Barcelone, Espagne.

  • I embraced the culture.

Making the French version of Christmas cookies.

  • I decided to take risques – in the sense that I would not miss out on experiences just because I was nerveuse, homesick, or whatever…

I tutored French with mon chéri (of course, this was before he became mon chéri). I said, “Oui” to mon chéri‘s (before he became mon chéri, of course) offer to show me les jardins d’Albertas, which was a brisk car ride away from Aix. (I went alone! But, I told my host mom where I was going because you never know…)

I traveled in France to Paris (with my SAFF)…

Climbing up to Sacré Cœur.

and to Lyon (with my two favorite mecs)…

as well as outside of France to Italie:

Venezia

Roma

and Firenze (with SA

FF)…

& Barcelone, Espagne (with mon chéri and 2 SAFF).

We drove to Barcelone.

  • I decided to accept that some things just weren’t meant to last. It was time for a change – time to move on. I was libérée.

When it came time to leave, there were tears. Back in Septembre 2012, I never would have thought that in Décembre, I’d never want to leave Aix. Even today (2015), I find myself reminiscing about the times I shared with my SAFF. I miss it; I miss them.

I miss the feeling of excitement and anxiousness of exploring a city that I didn’t know would become my permanent home.

And, of course the traveling with fresh eyes.

Firenze, Italie.

When you miss something so badly that you want to scream, you also want to talk about it.

Eventually, people back home begin to tire of your stories. They no longer know where their place is in your life (even though you know that you secretly wished they took part with you in your adventures). It becomes very difficile for them, for you! What can you do? You keep in contact with your SAFF so that you can still share stories and talk about the “good ol’ days” without offending anyone. At the same time, you learn who’s really important in your life and you “glue” them to your hip. And, sometime after you’ve returned/moved abroad, they will find a way to come visit you…And you can share your experience with them. ♦

*When you find yourself feeling all alone in a foreign land, don’t worry. Give yourself at least a month to get used to the culture différente and to make friends. It takes time, but by the end of this experience you won’t want to get on that return flight.


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

Interests: Something we all have at least one of…

It’s what prevents us from being constantly bored…

It’s what pushes us to take risques

It’s what encourages us to study abroad…

And to live with an hôtesse.

It’s what sparks us to finish université….

It’s what helps us make friendships that last a lifetime…

It’s what makes us more intelligent

The things we are interested in evolve as we grow; however, sometimes, our interests start when we’re in école primaire and then stay with us for the rest of our lives.

My liste of interests spawns from my childhood: I’ve always been interested in éducation, language (SLA: Second Language Acquisition), culture, travel, fashion, dansemusique, reading. These things have followed me as I moved from the U.S. to France. But, since then, I’ve added to that liste: tennis (I’m terrible, but I have fun!), blogging, mountain climbing (aka hiking).

It can be difficult for expats to hold onto those ancien interests. So, how do we combine our interests with moving abroad? Obviously, that depends on the interest, but for the most part, it involves some research. For exemple, an expat interested in tennis just needs to do some research to discover whether or not there are tennis courts nearby his/her new home.

Some expats go so far as to choose places that already contain the things they’re interested in. Others just let the surprise hit them. I fit both bills. In my cas, I chose the south of France because I was interested in living in a relatively warm climate…and I had already been to Paris, so, I wanted to explore other parts of France. However, I chose France as opposed to other countries because France m’intéresse beaucoup. Through travel and teaching, I’ve discovered that my interests have lead to incredible and insightful outcomes. In fact, I’ve only delved deeper into the things that m’intéresse since living and working in France. I look forward to the rest of la vie to see where my interests take me. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

Moscato in the U.S. (pretty much sums up springtime)

Au printemps, or spring, 2012: Am I going? Am I? Am I? I renewed my passeport...juste au cas ou, so, maybe I’m going…

Sangria in the U.S. (pretty much sums up summertime).

L’été, or summer, 2012: I got my visa…

juste au cas ou, so, I must be going…

L’automne 2012: I’m on an avion, or airplane……so, I’m definitely going…going…Gone from the U.S.

The Alps from the avion.

My famille, my friends…well, everyone can’t help but demandent: “Where did you go? Why did you go there? What did you do when you arrived?”

At the Marseille-Provence Aéroport in 2012.

Woa… One question at a time, stp (please).

In 2012, I went to Aix-en-Provence (Aix), France.

I traveled with two other students from my université.

In the above photos, we enjoyed our first night out in Aix.  At this point, though, in my travels, I didn’t know them personally, so, I think it’s safe to say that I left the U.S. alone…As in I left everything – friends, boyfriend, job, famille – behind. It was the most indépendante thing I did. To this day, I’m still proud of myself for taking this risque chance to experience another culture!

My housemate and I in front of our université, IAU.

I went to Aix to study French.

Graduation day!

I ended up gaining a lot more knowledge of the French language…

…of France…

Who knew that Batman lived in Aix?

…of French culture…

Aix’s novelty: Le calisson.

…and of myself than I bargained for.

Peddle boating in Les Gorges du Verdon.

…And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Lourmarin.

L’hiver, or winter, 2012: I returned to the U.S. with a new perspective on life…

…With new friends to add to the friends I already had in the U.S…

…With the courage to bid a final, ‘Au revoir‘, to a tiring 7-year relationship…

We’re thankful for Skype.

…With a new “boyfriend” (who knew if longue-distance would last)…

Things were so uncertain at this point…

…Oh, and with a new goal: Return to Aix.

Parc de la Torse (Aix).

Fast-forward to Avril, 2013: I returned to Aix.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 27th b-day.

But, the celebration only lasted for about a week…at some point, I would have to return to the U.S. to finish my studies.

Fast-forward to Julliet, 2013: I returned again to Aix…Except this time, I went there without a return ticket. (Now, I’m starting to realize why I had not even a penny in my pocket by the end of the summer…)

After about 3 weeks in France visiting mon chéri, I reluctantly returned to the U.S. I had no choix.

L’automne 2013: Mon chéri came to the U.S. to visit me. He stayed for 3 months!

This time, though, I was certain that my ‘calling’ was to move to France. So, I spent that school-year finishing my studies, student teaching, and job searching. Fortunately, I was accepted to teach English in France through the TAPIF programme.

Avril 2014: I returned to Aix for a week to visit mon chéri and to start moving my stuff into our new appartement.

Mai 2014: I unofficially moved to Aix.

Juin 2014: I returned to the U.S. for a week for my dad’s funeral.

Août 2014: I returned to the U.S. to finish up the visa paperwork to make my stay in France more permanent.

Septembre 2014: My move to France became officiel!

Sometimes I wonder if I ever really left Aix in 2012. It’s clear now that when I left the U.S. in 2012, a part of me never really returned. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

Bucket List

After reading the bucket list of une amie, a friend, I was inspired to note my bucket list in a post. I’ve created pas mal (quite a lot) of bucket lists throughout my life; after all, having goals (especially those on papier) has always motivated me to achieve them. As I reflect on my list as an 8 year-old and my list now, I realize that some things never change: there’s a pattern consisting of traveling, teaching, culture, language, and adventure.

My 40 Bucket List (obviously, there’s no ordre; I’ve checked off the things I’ve already accomplished):

  1. Finish my undergrad diplôme (French, Foreign Language Learner Teacher License, and Southeast Asian Studies). √

    My graduation luncheon.

  2. Study abroad in France. √

    Graduation from IAU, Aix-en-Provence.

  3. Live with a host family in a foreign country. √

    A lovely picture with my housemate and my host mom!

  4. Zip-line in the Caribbean.
  5. Become fluent in French. √ (mon chéri thinks I can check this one off, though, are we ever really “fluent” in any language? As language is constantly evolving, it’s hard to really define ‘fluent’)
  6. Backpack in Europe with friends.
  7. Teach French in the US. √ 
  8. Go skiing and/or hiking in the Alps.
  9. Climb the Duomo in Florence. √

    The magnificent view of Florence from the top!

  10. Visit Mayan ruines in Mexico.
  11. Learn Tagalog (√) and use it enough to become fluent (I’m very rusty right now, so, still working on the fluency part).
  12. Try balut in the Philippines.
  13. Watch glass-blowing in Venice (Ty’s necklace counts, lol). √ 
  14. Climb a mountain. √

    I successfully climbed Montagne Sainte-Victoire (twice)!

  15. Learn Japanese and be able to watch animé sans sous-titres, without subtitles.
  16. Order sushi in Japan using successful Japanese.
  17. Go on a road-trip in the US of the restaurants on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
  18. Visit all 50 US states & the territoires – I’m currently at 16 states & 1 territoire visited (WI, CA, GA, IA, IN, TN, TX, LA, FL, SC, SD, HI, KY, NV, MI, VA, DC).
  19. Visit Canada (including the Niagra Falls).
  20. See the ancient ruins in Rome. √

    The Colosseum.

  21. Visit Cat in Seville.
  22. Teach English abroad. √ 
  23. Take a yoga class in France (in French).
  24. Hike in Colorado.
  25. Visit the temples in Angor Wat.
  26. Kayak through les calanques (the rocky coastline in the south of France) with mon chéri. √ 
  27. Visit Greece and its isles.
  28. Take ballroom dance classes with mon chéri.
  29. Ride in a montgolfière (hot-air balloon) in France.
  30. Visit Tours and as many châteaux in the Loire Vallée as possible. √

    Château d’Azay-le-Rideau.

  31. Relax on the beach in Palerme, Italie.
  32. Host an American holiday tradition for foreigners in their home country. √

    July 4th in France with French friends.

  33. Freeze my butt off while adventuring in northern Europe. √

    Freezing but having fun in Stockholm.

  34. Acquire Italien.
  35. Visit amis in Irelande, in Scotland, and in Australie.
  36. Drive a car in Europe. √

    On the way to Barcelona!

  37. Tour major cities bordering the Adriatic Sea.
  38. Take the CAPES test.
  39. Eat seafood in Les Cinques Terres.
  40. Feed bamboo to a panda in China.

I recommend having a bucket list and to continue revamping it as you check off things you’ve achieved because there’s always something new to discover. For exemple, I only recently discovered Les Cinques Terres (it really is a MUST!). ♦

Premier of Provence: How I ended up in Provence

It was the children’s book, Letters from Felix, by Annette Langen that added the idea of traveling to my childhood imagination. It stars a (stuffed) bunny, which just so happened to be my favorite animal as a kid, who writes letters to his ‘owner’ from around the world. A bunny + illustrations of different countries = happy kid. Today, my mom would call it, Postcards from Bethany.postcards

I haven’t made it around the world like Felix; however, I’ve sent my share of postcards from overseas…and, thankfully for my recipients, the end is nowhere in sight. But, how did leaving the US go from my childhood imagination to adult reality?

It all started in 2002… It was nearing automne – the leaves were beginning to brown and the air was filled with the smell of pine-wood burning in chimneys all over suburban Chicagoland. Needless to say, my favorite season was approaching…and then I was awarded the opportunity to go to Paris for a week! But, why?

cousins wed.

My cousin was about to tie the knot with a française. That’s why.

A round-trip flight to/from France is expensive, so, my parents had to make one of the most important decisions Ever: “send one of us to France or one of the kids…” Out of the four of us, I was the only one taking French, the only one saving money to travel in France with my class during my senior year, and the only one who could easily miss a week of school/clubs. So, who was chosen? Moi. But, not without a compromise:  Instead of traveling with my class, I opted to use my funds (with my parents help, of course) to witness my cousin’s marriage. I sensed some jealousy, but, at least one of us got to go, right? Miss school for a week + practice French + witness an actual wedding in France = happy teenager.

France 2002 2 *photo courtesy of my cousin, E. Kies.

It was in 2002 when I experienced the true meaning of “French seating” at a typical restaurant, climbed to the top of La Tour Eiffel, took a boat tour on La Seine, explored Notre Dame and Le Louvre, saw my reflection in a gazillion mirrors inside Le Chateau de Versailles, tried escargot and gelato (which changed my life), drank my first sip of non-communion wine, walked the narrow streets of Paris, and witnessed a wedding in French (minus the vows) and the reception. It didn’t take much to hypnotize me. In fact, my mom will never let my aunt live this one down because my aunt convinced my parents that it’d be a “great, chaperoned experience.” But, for me, it was more than that. It was this trip that ignited the desire to return someday. And then I did return. For good.

wedding in france

In 2012, I was nearing the end of my French studies, so, after much decision making, I decided to study abroad. I researched many programs, but I kept going back to one: IAU (Institute for American Universities) in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence. So, I filled out the forms, handed over several hundred dollars and a multitude of passport sized photos… and viola! I was accepted. This experience changed my life in many ways. First, I learned to live on my own in another country where hardly anyone spoke a lick of English. I stayed with a host mom (no, she didn’t speak English) and another female that also attended the university. Thankfully for us, we became great friends.

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Second, I studied French language, literature, and business as well as the French school system. All of my classes were spoken entirely in French, the material was in French, and they were held by French professors. That is, with one exception: the course on the French school system was in English (British-English to be exact) and included a teaching clinical, where I taught English once a week to French children at The English Bubble. This clinical experience fueled my continuation in the teacher licensure program at NIU (Northern Illinois University). It also gave me the drive to return to France to teach English after finishing my studies.

spiders *Spiders in honor of the American Halloween tradition made by my 6-7 year old students.

Lastly, I met mon chéri during my studies in Aix.

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It was October and my favorite holiday full of costumes and pumpkin-everything was approaching…except, I was in France where ‘pumpkin-everything’ is more like ‘pumpkin-what?’ …and I had no costume. Boo. As I was suffering from French-Halloween culture shock, my host mom’s friend invited all of us to dinner. How was I to know that I would meet the man of my dreams-ish at this dinner? I must be really lucky. As Halloween approached, that culture shock, you know, the one that had me feeling lousy and pumpkin-deprived, dissipated rather quickly. I made an actual French friend. A français. A kind, smart, cool.. not-like-the-stereotypical-français français. He quickly rose to the top of the important-things liste…but, what can I say? Living in France + An amazing French boyfriend = hypnotized American.

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But, as Chaucer quotes, “All good things must come to an end.”

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Like Felix, I returned home to the US after my travels; but, it was not a happy return. France was always on my mind and I was unhappy in the US. Not to mention that I had embarked on the ‘voyage’ of a long-distance relationship (merci beaucoup, Skype!). Everything that past study-abroaders warned me about became reality: no one understood me (except my SAFFs) and I only annoyed my friends and family with re-counts of my experience. At the same time, everything (except Mexican food) in the US annoyed me, so, I began to question it all. Why couldn’t I walk everywhere? Why did I have to fill the entire cart at the supermarket with over-sized containers? Why did I have to fork over hundreds of dollars in addition to the insurance I paid into healthcare? What was with all of the ads about pills? Why couldn’t I find a decent (taste and price) baguette anywhere? Why was everything so fast paced? Why couldn’t I have a life like the Aixois? At this point, I was already paving the path for a return to France.

And then one afternoon, while cleaning my room, I found Letters from Felix. Of course, I read it again…it’s a classic. It was then when I realized: I can be like Felix – someone who is always sending letters or postcards from abroad. Thus, I discovered that the only thing standing in my way was my somber mood. I quickly turned that around and focused on living a life more like the Aixois. So, during the last semester of my studies (student teaching French), I searched the internet for employment opportunities for Americans in France, but I came up empty handed. I was at a point where I thought I’d never get a job in France. Thankfully, I had more success with the applications I sent for several teaching-in-France programs: I was accepted into TAPIF (Teaching Assistant in France) for the 2014-2015 school year.

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Fast-forward to summer 2014: I’m back in Provence. Only this time, I’m thriving in French culture and living with mon chéri.

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In April 2014, I found myself saying, “I never saw ‘dating a Frenchman’ in my future.” I’m no foreseer, so, that statement really has very little meaning. Sadly, I’m not a stuffed bunny that can travel the world for free, so, thankfully I nabbed a teaching job…even if it’s just for a year (7 months to be exact). At least I’ll be able to LIVE and WORK legally in France for a year (and have the whole of Europe at the ends of my finger tips)! What to do after TAPIF will have to wait until the program is in mid-swing. For now, it’s been nice not having to rely on technology for our romantic relationship to flourish. Instead, technology offers a way for me to communicate with family and friends back in the US. Living in France with mon chéri + making money doing what I love (teaching) = Happy Adult! Now, if only October 1 (the start of TAPIF) would get here…

Lesson learned: the really awesome things happen when you least expect them. So, just go with it! ♦

What were your experiences returning home from studying abroad? How did you find a way to return overseas after your study abroad experience?