Happy New Year, bonne année à tous! Well, can anyone believe how quickly 2013 flew by? It seems like just a few short months ago that I was coming up with resolutions for what I wanted to accomplish this past year in France, and now here we are again…
This January marks four years that I have lived in Provence and what an amazing, and sometimes overwhelming, experience it’s been. Each year as an expat has brought its own set of joys and challenges. I remember stepping off the plane in Marseille in 2010 and contemplating turning right back around. That same day, at a rental-car agency, I watched the women behind the desk with a combination of awe and panic. A stream of lovely sounding words poured forth as she clicked away on her computer. Compact, mid-size, or perhaps she was offering us a space-car that could take us to Mars… I had no idea as I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying…
That first year “down south” was a whirlwind of French lessons, a few tears, and many really-long dinner parties.
Moving to another country is tough. I think harder than anyone can imagine, but you just persist every day until your new life starts to take shape. Until you no longer feel like a stranger in a strange land. And, in all honesty, that takes a really long time.
But four years in, I am thankful to say that my “French resolutions” for this year don’t revolve around buying dictionaries or being able to return a pair of shoes without being deathly embarrassed. There are far less tears and many more dinner parties where I feel like I actually belong.
Here’s a few of my French-resolutions for starting another year of fun & faux pas:
-Make my first batch of macarons (besides learning the subjunctive tense, one of the great challenges of life in France)
-Learn the subjunctive tense (I’ll probably have this as a resolution 10 years from now…)
-Lots of cooking & baking projects. The first being to make a pot-au-feu, great comfort food.
-Do a work presentation in French (the thought actually terrifies me, but I can only hide in my office for so long…)
-Many travel wishes of course, and getting to a few more Christmas markets.
-Make our own tapenade. Provence, olives, it’s all there.
-Remember to greet people with madame & monsieur in shops and around town (just the right thing to do, but hard to make it a habit)
-Relax, have fun, and try not to be so embarrassed about my American accent… that “twang” is not going anywhere….
Any fun resolutions you’re looking forward to in the new year… French or otherwise?