I recently moved to France in what has easily become the greatest, most frustrating, and often maddening move of my life. There are days when I feel like I am on top of the world, where I feel extremely blessed and fortunate; days that I simultaneously despise and love the challenges that come my way because I know that my life will be enriched by them.
But then there are other days, like today, when I feel completely and utterly alone. These are the days where I feel like curling up in a ball in the corner and completely giving up. The days where my eyes turn red because of the tears I’ve been struggling to hold back. I look at my to-do lists and I can’t help but feel utterly overwhelmed, like I’m drowning and I can’t breathe. I feel anxious, frantic, and completely lost in a labyrinth that I myself chose.
The depression has been eating at me for days now. I find myself sleeping for hours during the day, gorging myself on junk food in an attempt to feel any shred of contentment or happiness, hating myself for being unappreciative of these wonderful opportunities which I cast aside as the depression yawns deeper into a abysmal, stygian, unfathomable gorge that I find myself falling into with no end in sight.
I read somewhere that in times like these, you should write and remind yourself of the things you love about your life, things that keep you trudging on and motivate you to face the next day. So below, here are a few things that are wonderful about my life.
- I love my students. They are always so ecstatic when they realize that I will be teaching in their class today; when I enter the room, a wave of euphoric cheers greets me. I love that they are so excited to see me, and that I have the opportunity to enact a profound impact in their lives.
- I have wonderful people here who have gone out of their way to make my transition as comfortable as possible. From Fanny, the TA coordinator, to Mathilde, my landlord, there are so many people who jump through hoops and tackle my obstacles with and for me, and I probably would not have made it this far without them.
- The incredibly delicious, healthy foods that anywhere else in the world would be extravagantly marked up as “artisan” are available at any corner store here for a quarter of the price. I can judiciously buy fine wines, cheeses, breads, and pretty much anything I could want (except peanut butter) without going over-budget.
- The Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups that I brought from home with me. I have never been so grateful for buying 4 bags of Reeses’ Cups in my entire life. They give me such a feeling a home and security that only chocolate and peanut butter can provide in this land that despises peanut butter and salty/sweet combos.
- My parents. I can always count on my momma and dad to answer the phone when I need to vent about xenophobic landlords, French bureaucracy, or even something as trivial as a bad hair day (which, btw, is everyday in France because their water is so hard that it has been absolutely destroying my hair).
I will probably be posting more whenever I hit a low point like I did today, so for now I’m just going to leave with this: I know I took this opportunity for a reason. I was ecstatic when I got my acceptance letter. I looked forward to this all year long. I came into the program with rose-colored glasses, remembering France as through a rosy pink lens and having forgotten that this country is every bit as infuriating as my own. But I loved the experience two years ago, and I know that I’ll look back on this in the future and reflect on how these challenges made me stronger, wiser, more capable, and tenacious as a wolf.
Sometimes, you just have to remind yourself that it will all be worth it in the end.