Hey loves! Happy hump day, you’ve made it half way through the week! I was supposed to do this post on Sunday but my laptop decided to act up. I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to it though. I’m excited to talk about taking chances and saying yes to the unknown. I don’t know about you but I’m often very hesitant to try new things when I’m comfortable with my regular routine. The biggest fear when deciding to try something new is not knowing whether or not it will turn out for the best. It’s the constant fear of making a mistake that tends to hold people back, myself included. But I’ve discovered that change is something that has to be done gradually. You can’t simply wake up one day and change every single thing about your life, that’s just not practical. When you do things gradually, and see the benefits of taking risks, you are more likely to do it again.
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is picking up my life and moving to France for four months. Now, this is not my first time relocating countries; I grew up in Kenya and later moved to the United States when I was twelve. But these two situations could not be anymore different. Moving to the States, I had the safety of my family around me. My worries included very inconsequential things like weather changes because my parents had everything else covered. Choosing to come to France, however, was a big deal for me. I knew absolutely no one in France when I signed up for the program. Although I’ve been taking french classes on and off since 7th grade, my french is mediocre at best. I knew there were going to be cultural differences that would only be intensified by the language barrier. I remember having a mini panic attack when I got the email informing me of my acceptance into the program. I got over it because I needed to get over it. I was wanted to see and experience something new, so I chose to put my big girl pants on and deal with the slight anxiety. And looking back, I realize how important that statement is. Sometimes change is thrust upon us, but there are times (and dare I day most times) we have to choose to make changes, or take risks, or say yes to the unknown. Oh, it won’t be easy, trust me. I speak from experience. The whole summer before my departure for France, I was hesitant to tell too many people that I was gonna be gone for four months because I was scared I was going to back out and look like a fool. Every time someone brought the topic up, and tried to brush over it as quick as possible. But I’ve learned that you can’t think about the worst case scenario because then you’ll be stagnant, never growing or exploring who you have the potential to be. If you happen to take a chance on something and it doesn’t work out, don’t look at it as a failure/mistake. Look at it as a lesson, a discovery of who you are. Because you now know what works and doesn’t work for you.
It’s only been a month since I arrived in France and if for some reason I had to get on the next flight back home, I can easily say that my stay here has already been more eye-opening than I could have hoped for. Remember how I came into this knowing no one, I now have friendships that I know for a fact will last beyond this program. I have a new family and home away from home. I absolutely adore my host family. This opportunity is something I would not trade for anything. Moving to France was a big risk in itself but every single day now, there are small choices I have to make that determine the extent of my experiences. Something as mundane as ordering food or making a purchase at a store needs careful thought and planning. Sometimes I feel like a toddler and get frustrated because I can not fully communicate and express myself. But at the same time, I’ve learned to listen more and talk less. I’ve realized that I pay better attention to the situations around me and appreciate the things that I CAN do. While I’ve been away, I’ve been more reflective about my own life and how blessed I am. Even though I’m thousands of miles away from my family, I’m reaching out to them more and paying better attentions to whats going on in their lives.
One of the major rewards for plunging into this experience is the opportunity to travel around France and Europe. I get to try new foods, visit new cities, see monuments and museums. For Example, this past weekend I was in Strasbourg, a city in northeastern France by the German border that has the perfect blend of french/german culture and architecture. Despite the whether being a bit chilly, I enjoyed my stay and plan on going back one day. My friends and I made a point to have German cuisine while we were there. The restaurants and bars were all so cozy, or as you would say in german “gemütlichkeit”. We also did some window shopping while we were there and I snatched myself the coral turtleneck I’m wearing in these pictures.
I’m gonna wind down here before I end up writing a novel but I really hope that this read inspires you to say yes to something that you’ve been hesitant to try. It can be as small as trying a new recipe or as big as booking a flight to a city you’ve always dreamed of visiting. I would also love to here all bout your “Yes!” experiences so please tell me all about them on the comment section.
Until next time! In the meantime, enjoy this pics of Strasbourg 🙂 XOXO
Pics taken in Strasbourg, France (Oct 7 – Oct 9)