I am learning to embrace the smallest of accomplishments rather than focusing on the daunting future of 3 years in France. I place pressure on myself to know the language fluently by the weekend (not going to happen), to have the French fashion sense morphed into my preggar wardrobe (again, not working) and to blend in rather than stand out as some crazy American.
There have been days in which I have wanted to just stay at home and not have to face attempting to speak French and the embarrassment that follows. Yet at the same time, I realize while stumbling through conversation, I am making small advances.
All that said, I can manage to order a baguette, coffee, a carafe of tap water and simple items at the market in my broken french. It feels wonderful to be understood! The pointing and desperate look on my face for someone to understand me may also help!
We have been learning a lot about the French way of life. One of the most noticable things is that the French do not feel the need to pickup their dog poop frpm the side walks. Instead of gazing at the amazing architecture, one must focus on the side walk... just ask Shane, he learned the hard way this weekend!
Common French thought is that a toilet in a bathroom is dirty. Therefore, some bathrooms have just a toilet, nothing else. While others have just a shower and sink. If you get really lucky, you have all 3. We saw this all the time when looking for apartments. It strikes my nursing mind as strange to not be able to wash your hands directly after using "la toilette". Isnt that a bit on the unsanitary side?
We tried out the only English speaking church in town this past weekend. It was not a church we would choose if we were in the States but options are quite limited. Can Eikon just church plant over here??? We received great advice from the colonel before attending the service. He has been in the army 25+ years and lived all over the world. He said you need to make the best of whatever place of worship is made available and find the good in it. With that in mind, Shane and I attended and found ourselves enjoying the eclectic bunch of people who were all coming together to worship. They were all very friendly and invited us to stay for tea and cakes- a very very British crew! We did meet one Englsih man who was wearing a Pittsburgh pirates shirt and knew all about Steelers football- someone we can identify with! After tea, we had to walk home. Minor problem- it was POURING rain! We made the best of our 20 minute walk. It turned out to be a fun time because how often do you ever get to walk in the rain at nite in the streets of France with the one you love??? Kissing in the rain is a little colder than they make it on the movies! But still very romantic....
Classic Shane face while enjoying a traditional Lille meal of steamed mussels in cream sauce, French fries and local beer
Gorgeous building we passed in Belgium