Thursday, 11 December 2014

What to expect when you're expecting France‏

As I am sitting on one of the largest planes in the world, heading to the city of my dreams, it honestly throws me how difficult this is to answer. I would predict that most words which come to mind for many people would be excitement and anticipation for the thrill of experiencing an opportunity so special at such a young age. But there is just something about making such a bold move, to place yourself in such an unfamiliar and slightly uncomfortable situation to thrive on your own that unnerves me greatly. I guess it is a feeling that you can only truly understand if you have experienced it before. While I'm sure the joys of soon being immersed in the French culture will come, there is undoubtedly a very awkward balance of positivity versus negativity that weighs on my shoulders.  

In my mind, the whole emotional process of expecting France was completely defined and predictable, and so far, it hasn't really deviated from the plan. First, you find out that there is such an opportunity, and your heart skips a beat with the possibility of being a movie-like character, travelling to the destination that she thought would not come until much later at the fresh and new age of eighteen. Then, filling out the application brings a wider and wider smile to your face because with every letter you write on the page, the certainty of going becomes greater and greater. Nearly every moment leading up to the week before departure, you cannot stop thinking about it and internally grinning like a maniac or writing about it every day in your diary. Up till this point, it is written in every book and in every journal that you will ever read about travelling by yourself in a new country. 

Then the doubts creep in upon the realisation that it is so close, mere days away. Endless insecurities that push you further and further into moments where you are lost in your mind, confused and dazed from what this all means and most importantly what it will contribute to your life. Am I fluent enough in the language? Will I be alienated because of etiquette and behavioural differences? If I need any help, who could possibly guide me when all I am is an insignificant young girl browsing around the streets of one of the most prestigious cities in the world? And on departure day, you absolutely need assurances that you have made right choice, swaying back and forth between fear and relief. It isn't until you reach the departure point where you look back at your family, holding back those inevitable tears that you discover how truly petrifying and frightening this independent experience is.

And of course, then you get to France, have one hell of a time, and never want to come back to New Zealand, but that remains to be seen. All I can describe is that sheer terror of conquering this journey on my own that makes me breathe five times faster and makes my blood run ten times quicker as I turned the corner and realised I really had to do this by myself, perhaps for the first time in my life. I do think that this fear where there is nobody to really depend on will stay with me this entire journey. It makes me laugh sometimes that I'm scared of home sickness more than the plane going down (as I write this on an airplane) but I've always known it was something that needed to be conquered and this was the exact opportunity to force myself to do it. 

Does it make it any easier? No. But will it worth it? I can't say for sure at this point, but there are a million clues that point towards yes in every possible way that I look.

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