I'll be honest- I started writing this post a few days ago, and writing about some of the experiences we had in France and how hard they were made me cry just thinking about them. Whew- it was hard for me! I would like to point out, however, that very few of the struggles had to do with France itself. Most of the challenge had to do with trying to live off a PhD student budget (meant for one person, not three, it would appear), having our first baby, and not speaking the native language. I've never felt so stupid, so needy and desperate, or so lonely in my life. I guess I didn't realize how comfortable I was used to being.
So, when Nate was no longer sure a PhD was really for him, I was like, "SOLD! Let's go back!"
And really, it wasn't all bad. We were so lucky while we were there! We made wonderful friends, received so much help, and were so graciously welcomed by our church congregation and neighbors. Those experiences make me cry too, but more out of gratitude and amazement at the goodness of people. I could go on for days detailing all the help and kindness we received, much of it from people we barely knew or could hardly communicate with. However, I'll keep it to this: Moving forward, Nate and I have a new definition of what it means to be a friend and lend a helping hand, and to be our brother/sister's keeper. I am indebted to our French friends, and I could never give back to them what they gave to us. But, we are going to do our best to emulate their example! (So basically if you need help ask us- we owe the universe lots of favors ;) )
I don't regret our time in France in the least. It was so difficult, but also valuable. And hey- now we know how to live in another country (including having a baby!). That should come in handy at some point, I think!
So, frequently asked questions-
- Nate met the requirements for a Master's degree before we left, so we did bring something more than refining life experiences back.
- Nate is going back to Amazon, but on a different team in a different role. He is still in marketing, though.
- Emma was born in France, but is not a French citizen. And yes, her "Born Abroad" birth certificate is cooler than your normal one.
- We are looking at places in North and West Seattle. If you are close by, you will be invited to our housewarming party once we're settled.
- We have nothing- sold everything to move to France, sold everything to move back, and so we get to start from total scratch. I am really excited about this, actually.
- We were originally planning to move to Utah, but nothing worked out. So Utah friends, now you have a reason to visit Seattle :)
I think that about sums it up. We're excited to start another chapter!