"...you will essentially be entering the “real world” this year, and this world will be French." -Carolyn Collins, the very kind and helpful French Embassy lady.
In seven days I leave the only place I've ever really lived to go to France for seven months. Though I like to think I have had a small taste of the real world, this move is the real clincher, an ocean away from my family, friends, and anything familiar. I have a place to live and supposedly a job, but everything else is up to me. I feel very much on the unprepared side right now, but I have faith that "everything happens for a reason," it's all part of the experience and this is an experience I can't pass up. Thousands have done this before (and probably 'blogged' about it too) so nothing can be all that scary or orginal, right?
I've had the whole summer to think about this and have come to a few conclusions about my expectations for the next year (beacause "year" sounds more impressive than "seven months"):
What I expect to enjoy the most:
- Cheese. I just love cheese, and yogurt...most dairy products really.
- The Weather. Less humidity=less frizzy hair; Rain and Snow=numerous outerwear opportunities.
- Experiencing another culture and lifestyle, like, for real.
- Being able to travel...alot. I have such plans for travel.
- Sending mail to people back home. (Send me your address if you want something! I need an outlet for my ever-growing stationery collection.)
What I expect to miss (other than the obvious family, friends, my own bed, etc.):
- Television. Especially syndicated sitcoms...in what other country can you ALWAYS find an episode of Golden Girls on?
- Everything Daddy cooks. Except squirrel.
- ALWAYS running into people I know (though I think this will also be something I enjoy...honestly, it's about 50/50).
What I expect to be challenging:
- The language. You'd think I'd be practically fluent after eight years of classes and two immersion programs...but I'm so not.
- Making friends. Especially French ones.
- Paperwork. I'm not sure if the French invented bureaucracy, but they sure mastered making it difficult.
- Being American. Though I don't put that much stock into the whole French-hate-Americans thing, I do expect some challenges rooted, however deeply, in my nationality.
- Teaching. You know, the actual job I'm supposed to do over there for which I have no experience. (But I did just go ba-nanas at the Dollar Tree stocking up on flashcards, coloring pages, and stickers...so far teaching=fun.)
Wish me luck! I'm off to start this next part of my life...that will be in French.