A two-week high school trip to Paris, La Loire, Bretagne, and Normandy in 2007. A four-month study abroad in Normandy in 2010. A nine-month TAPIF experience in La Côte d’Azur in 2013. Now, a 1-2 year lectrice job in Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
It has finally hit me that I leave for France again in nine days and I’m not sure when I’m coming back.
In a nutshell, I’m excited, but I’m also terrified.
- Being a lectrice means more responsibilities. I took my job as an assistante seriously, and I am equally excited and nervous to be a lectrice. It is a job at which I really want to excel and do well. I have students I want to inspire, teach, motivate, and of course educate.
- I don’t know when I’m going to come home to Wisconsin next. I have a one-way ticket out to Europe, but nothing that says, “return.” I could potentially be in France for up to one year, but for as many as two. I am also not going with the same financial cushion as last year, meaning that I will be living on a very tight budget. I don’t know if I will have the means to come home for the holidays during these next one-two years, or more importantly, to my cousins’ and friends’ weddings. My grandparents are also old. Finally, to make matters even more real, I’ve canceled my gym membership, and and I’m officially off of the family car insurance, cell phone plan, and more. It’s that feeling of really leaving that has began to hit me. Actually, I find it to be quite interesting, because many 20-somethings and beyond pick up their belongings and move cross-country with dwindling bank accounts in order to begin new jobs and lives. I don’t know why this feels any different. Perhaps because it’s not the first time I’ve had to do to- and I know how exhausting it is.
- I’m going to miss my friends and family. With working 60 hours per week this summer, I unfortunately haven’t had the time to see and catch up with as many people as I would have liked. Thankfully, with my family and friends, we usually just pick up where we left off. However, I will admit that one of the worst things about living abroad is the fact that life does go on without you.
- On the bright side, some things have been MUCH easier in regards to preparing for France this time around. Getting my new visa was a breeze. I already had my birth certificate and diploma translated. I knew the process for renewing and advancing prescriptions, hair products, and eye wear. I already have a French cell phone number and phone plan, as well as a French bank account. I already have made a few friends in my new city. I also have a place to stay until I find something of my own. I know how to apply for CAF, MGEN, etc. My boss is English. My French is fluent. And although I won’t be traveling like in the past, my new location is ideal for day trips– I’ve never even been to Belgium!
- In a sense, I can’t believe I am where I am today. I’d always talked about being one of those lucky assistants who found a way to stay in France. It’s quite an amazing feeling to have accomplished that. I am so lucky to have gotten to live in three different areas of France, and I can’t wait to see where these next few years take me.
I want to thank all of you, my readers, for keeping me motivated and positive. Cheers as I plunge into the next adventure of As Told By Dana!