The New Year begins and I am coming up on completing my first year in France. It’s quite overwhelming to think of my arrival last April, bright-eyed about the future in this new country. There have been peaks and valleys and a few times the question has floated in my mind: What have I done. But my dear friends remind me how hard it is what I’ve done and am doing on a daily basis. Every time I approach a counter for help and getting up the nerve…wondering how it will go, will they understand what I need or will I walk away in defeat.
Sometimes I don’t even think about it and try to make my way with my few French phrases, other times, I have to take a deep breath and just stand straight even when the cashier is muttering under her breath (which I assume is: why if this person is living in France, can’t she speak the language?). It can be exhausting on my confidence and motivation for putting my self out there in all areas: going to a new workout class, looking for work, going to a new store, trying to return something. Even finding a tailor for my clothes is too advanced for me at this stage so I sit with a JCrew skirt and black dress unaltered in my closet. Maybe in year 2.
The other night a wise friend told me that life without some fear is not a life lived. I would characterize this fear as good fear (not running for your life down a dark street) but still, when I come home and fall onto the couch and become a bit paralyzed with exhaustion I sometimes forget how my daily life revolves around some activity that I may or may not be successful at. I have resolved to live in this country and to not only succeed with the day to day activities but to truly thrive and come into my own.