Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride

In high school during basketball season, we had to run the “beep test” every so often (for those of you who are unfamiliar, the beep test is a terrible fitness test where you run back and forth across the gym trying to beat the “beeps” as they play faster and faster until you can’t run anymore and/or you throw up). I thought that was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

In college, various organic chemistry tests, engineering problem sets, and then the MCAT quickly topped the list of hardest things I’d ever done.

Until now.

This is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done. I’m not quite sure if I was expecting it to be a piece of cake to come to a foreign country that speaks a different language where I know no one and have no apartment, bank account, or phone, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this hard. It’s only been a week and I already miss peanut butter, Pandora (doesn’t work here), Netflix (also doesn’t work here), leaves changing color, fall weather, refrigerated milk, and not having to carry my keys, toilet paper, and a flashlight to the bathroom (more on that later…)

For the first few days, I hated it. Why was I here? What was I thinking when I signed up for this? Would I ever feel comfortable in this new place? Would I ever be able to stop crying? I wished I had just one person here with me to share it with– to maybe take half of the burden so it wouldn’t be so hard.

So I gave myself one week to cry in my apartment, and then I did one of the things I do best: I made a list. I actually made a lot of lists. And that’s what this blog is dedicated to… not to lists, per se, but to the content of those lists: my fears, goals, expectations, accomplishments, frustrations, and other random encounters over the next eight months. I’m planning on having the best year of my life, and I want to share it all with you 🙂

So let me start by sharing my first list: my goals for this year
1. See 1 new city every month.
2. Join a church.
3. Take a French class.
4. Join an athletic club.
5. Lean how to cook a French meal.
6. Explore tourist-y Nice.
7. Discover not-tourist-y Nice.
8. Make new friends.
9. Find an apartment.
10. Get a phone.
11. Volunteer.
12. Finish my Fulbright project.
13. Get hooked on a French TV show.

I’ll keep adding to the list, too. If anyone has any other suggestions, I want to hear them!

But this is why life isn’t always beautiful. Sometimes it’s unbearably hard and lonely in a cramped studio with 2 hotplates, a minifridge, and a bathtub you can’t even stand up in. But I know the experiences I will have this year will make up for that. They will be beautiful.

Au revoir!

P.S. At the end of every blog post, we’re going to have a French lesson… one new French word I’ve learned that day/week. Our first word is:
mansardé– an adjective that describes an attic room with slanted ceilings
Ma chambre est mansardée donc je ne peux pas me tenir debout!
My room is in the attic with slanted ceilings so I can’t stand up straight!


6 thoughts on “Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride

  1. Jenny, love love love reading this! You have all the right stuff on your list, I really cant think of anything you could add except: put yourself out there. By that I mean friend everyone…talk to everyone…have a cup of coffee with everyone…It wont always work out, but you may connect with someone who could be a lifelong friend and you dont want to miss that opportunity. Especially in a country where they are more reserved…you have to be the proactive one. I did that in England, and I have no regrets, and as you know I have very special friends there now. It’s not always easy, but people are generally really nice, and will love you. xoxoxoxo

  2. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try like every kind of wine possible! And then share 🙂 There was this one kind of wine that was soooo delicious… i think it’s clairette… something like that. It’s more of a sweet wine/grape 🙂 was sooo good as bubbly/carbonated.

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