I can't honestly believe I've been in France for three years now. Officially, my three year anniversary was on the 23rd September. I remember thinking a lot about the last three years that day but didn't get round to writing abut it as I'd just started my lectrice job.
I've been through a sort of roller coaster ride in three years. I've realised through writing this blog that all us ex pats seem to go through the same peaks and troughs. Booo to French paperwork, closed friend circles, struggling to get to grips with the 'real' French language and not the one we learnt at school.....the list could go on and on and on. but I would like to be positive here.
I have learnt a huge amount about my inner strength over the last three years. I know what is important to me too. I am still sensitive and maybe still too sensitive, but I know I have developped a thicker skin, if oly a few milimeters thicker. Being away from everything you know, finding your own path does that to you. I've learnt to take knocks, and I'm stronger than I thought - I'm still here, still fighting. For those of you that knew me for my first year in France, who would have thought I'd have stuck through attacks from a certain English teacher.....somehow she didn't put me off living in France.
Last night I was talking to Ju and suddenly switched conversations to something that was being said on the tv. Ju was impressed that I could do that. He's been with me from the start and I think he realises now just how good my French is. And it is. I am sooo proud of myself that I came here with only GCSE French (age 16 exams in UK) and now am a level C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language. One more level and I will be as good as natives. haha. If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, going from a C1 level to a C2 is going to take a long time. Maybe a decade? More? Maybe I will never achieve that level, it doesn't matter. People compliment me on my French, just today a lady at the bus stop did. I know it doesn't matter what others think of my level of French, but it is nice to hear all the same, and it proves that I can more than get by.
To think that I used to write a script each time I had to phone someone....Julien had to order for me in restaurants....sometimes he still goes to do so and I step in and reclaim my part in the conversation. You see, he got so used to talking for me that sometimes he forgets that I am capable now...sometimes more so than him. It's been known in the bank/insurance brokers that I have had to explain something to Ju when he didn't understand what the bankman etc was trying to get at! ha
France has been a nighmare and a dream. People ask me if I am going to stay in France and the honest answer is that I can't see myself leaving, not at the momet. The problems I encounter here are the same I would encounter in the UK. Speaking to my friends back home only confirms this, so why not stay?
After all, I've come this far.