I wanted to write this today because I think we all need to hear it sometimes. Its ok to take time. Good things can take time.
I was recently contacted by my friend who is struggling to decide where she wants to base herself and she made me remember how hard it was to establish a life in France. I don’t know if people knew that – i was probably too proud to show it – but the beginning wasn’t easy. While it was wonderful being with Gab and learning the language and eating the cheese, the fundamentals were missing. The fundamentals like real friends that truly get you, a fulfilling job that gave true financial independence and motivation as well as a cultural understanding that made sense to me and that I could relate to.
Every day was really tricky. I even found it scary to go to the shops. What if someone asked me a question, or as is common in France, complained to me/about me?! What would i do?
On and off, I have been in France for 4 years. I only just now really feel like I have found my true place. I have work and friends that I adore. My days are full and interesting. I understand (for the most part) whats happening, culturally and linguistically. But it did not happen over night.
I don’t even think the foreign country part is the main issue here. I think it just takes time to set up a life that reflects how you want to live and who you are. And while you are setting it up, shit happens. There will be friction or conflict. There always will be – but as your perception shifts and your awareness changes, you become more able to deal with it. The world doesn’t change, but you do.
My friend mentioned to me that she feels a little bored, a little lost. And my advice was this – apply yourself 100% and act like THIS IS IT! When you throw yourself into something with the goal of sticking with it no matter what, things start to happen. Life starts giving you opportunities (which maybe where there before but you just start to notice now). Everything gets a lot more fun.
I was initially so reluctant to throw myself into French life. It took me a while too. I was flitting back and forth between London and Paris, not ready yet to accept that France should be my home. When I finally had a good hard look at myself, I decided I would commit 100% to France for one year. I didn’t need that long. The moment i decided that I WOULD love this place, i did. Opportunities started appearing. True friends started appearing. I could see my world with new, sparkling eyes.
So, if you feel stuck in a rut – no matter where you are – commit to loving it, to being the most enthusiastic person about it, for even just 3 months. Pretend like you are a tourist passing through (arent we all?) and learn and see everything you can. You might just find that the place changes and so do you.