Sunday, January 18, 2015

What did I Expect?

I am happy to report that I am finally feeling better and well on the road to recovery..... and I didn't have to resort to antibiotics or horseradish!

This past week I finally had some moments that felt like what I had anticipated life in France might be....

I had French language classes all morning and I actually felt like I understood what was going on! It was raining, but the sun came out in the afternoon, and so I went for a walk and found myself at a cemetery. It was a pleasant surprise (as I enjoy cemeteries), and I found my soul came out of hiding and took a little breath.

Let me back up.... Since coming to France, it seems that my soul went into hiding, and I haven't been able to offer it a safe space to return. It has been such a chaotic season of disorientation, hiding was necessary for survival, but I was beginning to wonder how long might this season last.

As an Introvert I am reenergized by being alone where I have time for reflection and introspection. Don't misunderstand me - I like people, and I think I have fairly good social skills, and I'm a friendly person, BUT..... in order to recharge, to maintain some sense of balance, it is absolutely necessary that I have solitude and silence, and I haven't had much of that since arriving in France.

Moving to a foreign country has upended any sense of normalcy and balance in my life.... which is exactly what I wanted, but it's still challenging, frustrating and a bit uncomfortable. And yet, I continue to pursue the adventure and find joy in the midst of chaos. This is what I thought life in France might look like.

Saturday I took the train to Paris with some friends. We went to the musee d'Orsay and enjoyed the Impressionists exhibits, followed by a stop at a nearby café for hot drinks. We did a little window shopping, stopping into a fromagerie, an epicerie, and a patisserie on our way to dinner.  The Café de l'Empire was a perfectly delightful experience. I felt at home as soon as we walked through the door..... a hint of hipster, but mostly simple, chic and classy. The service was pleasant, the ambiance was cozy, the food was good, and my company was delightful.

The velvet wall behind our table

After dinner we walked around the block to a classical music concert where a friend was playing the violin in a quaint, small art gallery converted for the evening into a concert hall.

As the music filled the room, my soul breathed deeply.

We finished off the evening with wine and cheese at a lovely little café in St. Michel. The location was perfect for some people-watching, and I reflected on our day in Paris with contentment. This is what I had hoped life in France might look like.

But after all of that time with people, I desperately needed some alone time.  And so today I had a slow, quiet, introspective morning and then headed out for a hike in the forest. I found the perfect seat on a tree stump beside a little pond where I sat and soaked up the sun that graciously decided to make an appearance. 

As the quietness surrounded me, my soul breathed deeper.

I spent the afternoon in the kitchen listening to classical music and baking a pie. Baking is often a spiritual practice for me, and today it again provided space for my thoughts to roam and for my soul to breathe.

Apple Cranberry Pie

I am learning to be patient with myself, to treat my soul with kindness and respect, and to breathe deeply.  This is what I had hoped life in France might be..... a time of reflection and growth.


  1. Hey Heather. Nothing profound to add here. Just glad for this post.

    Grace & peace to you friend,

  2. Poetic as always. I just had to tell you how much I like the 2nd photo. It truly is worth 1,000 words.