Three years ago today, I got my acceptance letter for TAPIF. I ran into my co-worker’s office, sob-whispering that I got in, unable to stop myself from beaming. I spent the day giddily ready to give up my salary and move to a small city in France that I had never even visited before. I didn’t have a long-term plan for my life in France at the time, but knew that I was ready for an adventure.
And what an adventure it’s been.
In the past three years, I’ve spent more time with middle schoolers than I ever imagined, have seen cheese being made from start to finish, have worked on an organic vineyard, and have visited more than five new countries with countless cities in-between. I’ve eaten Julia Child’s first meal in France, dined at two Michelin-starred restaurants, and have survived two French Christmas meals. I’ve climbed—I think—everything there is to climb in Paris. I, at last, found a job that was perfect for me, which allowed me to experience Paris through interviews with butchers and cheese mongers, and going behind the scenes at a chocolate factory (video soon, I promise!).
Yesterday, I defended my thesis, the final step to procuring my masters in global communications. That’s it! I am officially a master. It’s what allowed me to stay in France, but moreover, it gave me the time to be changed by France—a change that I was seeking three years ago when I made my moving announcement.
France made me resilient, resourceful, and gave me a confidence that I was lacking, whether linguistically or professionally. France made me an expert, something I was searching for but for the life of me couldn’t understand how to find a field of expertise. France inspired me to write and create and paint. It taught me how to eat and how to cook, how to live in tiny, tiny spaces, and that sometimes all you need to brighten your day is a morsel of high-quality dark chocolate.
In moving to France, I was reborn into the person that three years ago I yearned to become—now, it’s time for the next adventure. (This, by the way, doesn’t mean my Paris story is finished yet—I’m leaving part of my soul in France, so I always have an excuse to come back and visit.)
Next stop, New York!
Do you have any questions about the move? I can’t guarantee that I have all (or any, really) answers, but feel free to send them my way!