31 December 2011

Review: My life in 2011.

- Finished Freshman year of college: Freshman year was... interesting. My roommate and I met and we became good friends. But I was introverted and found it to be tougher then I thought to make friends and get out. The rain started to get to me even though I have lived here my entire life. All these resulted in me battling depression.

- Battled Depression: probably one of the toughest things to admit, yet something that has made me the person I am today. I am learning to take care of myself and put myself out there. Locking yourself in your dorm room without talking to anyone and watching too much TV results in low self-esteem and general unhappiness. Now that I know this I am trying to figure out how to change my habits. It's tough shit.

- Had a job all year: I was blessed to grow up in a family of construction workers and Boy Scouts. Hard work is a foundation of our lives. In the Spring I worked two jobs and went to school full time. This past summer I finished my fifth year selling berries for a local farm. I got to manage more which was nice to my bank account. This Fall I could only fit one job in my schedule because I studied a lot, but they want me to come back next year which is so nice. I was extremely blessed.

- Got into a Study Abroad program: It took a lot of hard work, two consecutive classes, lots of summer homework, and saving up but I got accepted to study abroad in France. In two days I will be leaving for Grenoble, France for six months. It is one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had, and it hasn't even started! I am eternally grateful for this opportunity.

- Started Running: This is one of the things that I think has helped me battle my depression. I have started to hate my body, but running has taught me that it isn't all about appearance but about strength, commitment and faith. I know that running will be something I can have forever. Next year I am planning on running a half marathon.

- Went down a pant size: This was so exciting. I haven't be this small since... Shit I don't know. And my New Years' Eve dress? I feel pretty in this dress. And I never feel pretty in dresses. Since I will be celebrating New Years' Eve at a party, which I never do (usually it's on the couch in Pjs with Ice Cream) and in a foreign country, this is so important for me.

- Turned 20: It was nice to not be a teenager anymore, but now all I can think is I am an adult. I need to get a boyfriend and an apartment stat.

- Got a haircut: And I kind of like my hair shorter. I swore I would not get it cut since last time they cut it short, I looked like yield sign. True Story.

Overall, it was a weird year. I wasn't too happy with myself. But I feel like 2012 is going to be my year. I will be living in France for 6 months, traveling, running a half marathon, turning 21, and getting my first apartment. Perhaps a boyfriend is in the cards too?

Be nice to be me 2012, I really need it.

J'aime Paris.

I am in Paris.
I am currently eating a croissant and drinking coffee.
I am wandering down the rues and taking it all in.
I am snapping pictures of everything.
I am in Love.

"The mistake most people make when they come to Paris is thinking that it is just a tourist destination. Paris is a real place where people live and work; Parisians don't live to please tourists and speak English. However is you make a little effort discovering the city you will get way more out of it. And you just might fall in love with this place."

29 December 2011

My bags are packed.
My wallet is filled with Euros.
I had some sad goodbyes.
See you in Paris.

A Letter to France.

Dear France,
I will be there soon. I can't wait to meet you and get to know your secrets. I will miss my Northwest, but I feel like you and I will get along. We will have 6 wonderful months and I to treasure it.
Meet you in Paris.
Love, Me.

27 December 2011

T-minus 2 days!

In two days I will be boarding a plane for France.

I am getting so excited. My stomach is in knots and I am figuring out how to arrange my suitcase to maximum efficiency. I have been packing and cleaning my room all day and trying to mentally prepare myself for this trip. I am freaking out only because I am so nervous about my classes, meeting my family, speaking French for 6 months, and the general unknown. But every time I start to freak out something keeps me calm and I just picture myself walking in the countryside, skiing in the Alpes, struggling through my classes with my peers, cooking with my host sisters and some how it all just seems to be okay.

Yes, I will miss my friends and family so so much but I am too excited to dwell on that. And it is only six months. I will be back in this boring town before I know it, working and living my life. This is my time for adventure. I am young and free. I am trying to treasure that.

I need to finish packing tomorrow, because I leave Thursday afternoon for Seattle, then board my plane Friday!!!

I also bought the prettiest New Years' Eve dress. This is kind of important to me, because a) I never party on  New Years' Eve and b) I will be partying in a foreign country at a dance club. It is dark blue with flowers on the bottom. It is much prettier then I make it sound.

My packing is almost done! I am so proud of myself! I got everything I wanted to take into my suitcase. There are three levels of rolled up clothes and shoes and random things. Total weight 48.2lbs! (Maximum allowed is 50.)

Still To Do:
- Gather FASFA documents for parents
- buy host family a present
- Call Credit Card Company
- Copy paperwork
- buy Rain Jacket
- 9am: haircut
- 6pm: Babysit
- 9pm: coffee with Best Friend

23 December 2011

One week.

In one week I will be on a plane destined for France.

I am freaking out. There is no other sophisticated way for me to say it. I wish I was cooler and could eloquently say how excited and nervous I am but instead I shall fumble a little. Forgive me.

I can't figure out what I am feeling. I think I am supposed to feel nervous and worried, but right now I am just excited. When I close my eyes I am not seeing the difficult time I will have understanding my professors, I am seeing the beauty of the country, the way my French will improve, the way I will bond with my host family, and the way in which I will change.

Will it be like Eat, Pray, Love? Certainly not. But I will be eating a lot, pray to understand the language, and loving everything I can. But I am not setting out to try to live someone else's story. I am going to write my own.

I am nervous for those moments when the unknown gets overwhelming and I feel lost. When all I will want to do is call up my friends and watch a movie without subtitles. I am nervous for my exams that will be in French and for that chance that I will not understand anything they are saying. I am nervous about meeting my host family. I am nervous about insulting someone with my pitiful accent.

But it is almost Christmas and my excitement is building. I have started to get together my stuff I am taking. And I am figuring about how hard it is to pack six months of a life into a 50lb suitcase. Maybe I will upload my packing list later so you can see how silly some of the stuff I am taking is. I haven't started packing all of the big stuff yet, but I have made lists. Let's just pray that it all fits!

I have started thinking about the things that I want to accomplish when I am over there and what I think I will get to experience, but they are mostly just flashes of my imagination. I want to wander the streets with my friends, shop at farmers' markets, go hiking in the Alps. I will travel to foreign places, and meet strange people. I will put my camera to good use, travel with my appetite, and hopefully when this is all over I will be able to speak French fluently.

I pray that at June 4, my passport will be bursting with stamps, and my life's story will forever bear the marks left by those places I've visited and people I've met. My wallet may be empty, but I'll be all the richer for it.
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