French Alps 2015: Part 1

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The last few days have been such a whirlwind that I haven’t had any time to post an update of where I am, what I’m doing etc. Right now I’m on holiday with my au pair family (although, I’m working so I’m not sure how “on holiday” it is haha) and we’re staying a ski resort in the French Alps!
My daily schedule is watching the youngest kid, and then getting some drawing in before everyone comes back. The apartment is pretty small, so it’s kind of crazy to have us all crammed in here, but it’s so beautiful outside that it makes up for it. The youngest and I have been marathoning Disney classics like 101 Dalmations and Aristocats, so it has been pretty chill (pun intended) overall.

Last night I got to go to a hockey game, and that was pretty fun! There was a lot of profanity, including the goalie flipping off the crowd so it was definitely entertaining. I’m pretty sure I’m going to another one on Saturday night, too. Hopefully it’s a better opposing team because the end score was 10-2. Hardly a fair match. I kind of felt sorry for the goalie.  Here are some pictures, so far!

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Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

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Tonight, when I first sat down to write a blog post, I thought I would be writing about the adventures I’m having right now while on holiday. I thought I would tell you guys all about the wonders of being in snow-covered mountains, or about how beautiful today was. But when I sat down at my computer, staring at the blank white document page, all I could think about was home.

You’ve all heard of homesickness before, and I know it’s not the first time I’ve written about it on my blog, but it wasn’t really on that level that I was thinking. Being in a ski resort there is beauty all around me: beautiful mountains, beautiful snow, beautiful shops and buildings. But what I find the most beautiful are the people. See, normally people come to resorts with their closest friends, family etc. so the relationships that you get to see around you are ones built on familiarity – something I can barely remember the taste of.

Today I was walking around some of the streets and I couldn’t help but think about the people I would bring here, were it up to me. Who would be among my crew of miscreants? Who would I be walking these streets with?

Moving away from your country can leave a pretty colossal hole in your heart. While I know there are some people who move and never want to return, that hasn’t been the case for me. In fact, I think it has been the exact opposite experience. Note: This does not mean I hate my life, I’m not having fun or that I want to run away.

Having lived these past six months in France has really taught me a lot about the people in my life, though. I’ve ranted and raved about my friends, before. But I think I’m starting to understand just how lucky I truly am. When I think back over the past six months I can say with certainty that, without these beautiful people, I wouldn’t have made it.

True and honest friendship is not something you encounter every day, although there are many impersonations of it. But, you see, friendship isn’t about the people who smile and ask you how your day was every time you see them. Anyone can ask you questions. It’s about the people who are actually listening when you answer – the people who aren’t looking over your shoulder for the next person to talk to. Friendship is about people caring because actually do, not because they feel like they’re under obligation to. And it took me most of my life to stop settling for the latter version.

But somehow, though the past few years, I seem to have won the lottery when it comes to friends. I have the absolute best support system a girl could ask for, but I’m okay admitting I took it for granted when I was living a phone call away from them.

And now, living a galaxy away, we can’t phone call. Now we have to strategically adjust and stretch our schedules just to talk for a precious hour between time zones. Now we have to sit down and take the time to write letters and then mail them. We have to work for our friendship, and the reality is that it isn’t always convenient.

Which is why I know how lucky I am.

When I first moved to France the biggest fear I had was of being forgotten. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it has been a really real fear throughout his whole process. Would people remember who I was? Would they see me again after a year and see a friend or a stranger? The reality is that either is possible. Some friendships are tested and don’t make it.

But some do.

And to those of you who have sacrificed time, effort, postage and kind words to help me through this wild adventure I’m on, I want to say a sincere “thank you.” I love you guys, and you will probably never know how much these “little” things mean to me.

This crazy thing called my current life would never have been able to be possible without you all! And throughout the shifting, stretching, crazy, awkward, ridiculously miraculous adventure, I finally understand how rich my life truly is. The beauty that is you people is just so much bigger than I ever could have imagined.

And while homesick is a feeling I’m more than a little familiar with, that’s not how I feel right now. I feel blessed. I feel overwhelmed by the people who have worked so hard to support and love me, even from 5000 miles away.

I’m the luckiest girl alive and I don’t think I ever fully realized it before.

Thank you all so much, and enormous hugs! We’re gonna do this thing together: Walk, run or crawl.

Thank you for being there to support me, all the way to the finish line.

Airport Journal: Galway, Ireland

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No matter how early I plan to leave the house, somehow I always end up running for some mode of transportation. But today it wasn’t my fault. Really. I got up on time, I was at the door on time – but then I opened it. Huge white flakes were falling from the sky. They fell a little too fast, since it wasn’t quite cold enough to snow; only half of them surviving long enough to cover the ground in a thin sheet of almost white. Snow. I finally saw Paris in the snow.

It would have been a lot more exciting had I not realized that I wasn’t dresses for snow – but was venturing out in it, nonetheless. The reasons for my negligence mainly being because it wasn’t in the forecast, and then also just because who dresses for snow while traveling for a mini vacation to Ireland? Umbrella. I needed an umbrella. And as I fumbled my way through the house, I could not for the life of me, find one. WHERE WAS MY UMBRELLA?!

Ok, so maybe it was kind of my fault, because 8 minutes is a rather long time to look for an umbrella, when you’re supposed to be in a “rush.” But I finally found it!! And then it was a run/half skid effort down the hill to the train station. The scanner on the stop said 28 minutes until the next train, which meant I had just missed the train. But, wait. I was 3 minutes early! I prayed it was wrong because, if not, I was cutting it deadly close for catching a connecting metro and, ultimately, the bus to the airport. (A funny story about the airport I’m flying out of, I’ll tell you another time.)

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how I’m getting to Galway, Ireland. Allow me to do so, now:

Walk ->Train -> Metro -> Bus -> Plane -> Bus -> Stay 24 Hours -> Bus -> Plane -> Bus -> Metro -> Train -> Walk

I know. I got a headache just typing that. But amazingly, with all that, it’s still cheaper than flying direct just to Dublin. Which is cool, because I’d rather go to a city I haven’t been to, before, and I like the idea of taking a bus ride across Ireland on a sunny (albeit cold) Saturday.

Also, the sea. I can not wait until I’m by the sea. Living in land-locked Paris has been slowly draining my soul. I need to be by the salt water air to feel whole. I need to hear waves, and see seagulls flying overhead. Also, I just really miss speaking English and eating fish and chips. Real talk.

So I’m on my way! I’m so excited, even though I’m only halfway through my journey there, right now. Here’s to weekend adventures!