When I decided to take a summer job in Lyon, I had no idea how things would turn out – would I even be able to revive the French I knew from a long time ago? I only knew that I needed to be away from home for a little while. Fulltime distraction from my problems back then, seemed like a good idea. It was just for 3 months – so how much damage could it do? Little did I know, that 1,5 year later, I would still be a ‘Lyonnais’.
I loaded my car with enough clothes for the summer, a blanket, a pillow and a few pots and pans for the little studio I would live in the next couple of months. Pretty nervous, I hit the road. Because my energy level was pretty low in this period in life, I decided to take a hotel halfway. The next day I arrived at my aunt’s place. My aunt left the Netherlands for France when she was 20, and she ended up in Grenoble. Of course, this became a beloved travel destination for me. Since Grenoble is at a 1,5 hour drive from Lyon, it was quickly decided I would spend a week at their place, before my arrival in Lyon. One of the advantages was that I could already start to practice speaking French with my uncle.
On Saturday I could enter the studio and from that moment the adventure started. To me, this summer job was a huge roller coaster. Jumping from dealing with my personal problems, to personal growth, to making fun with newly made friends, to the problems of clients and the hectic summer situations at work. Nonetheless, I liked it.
I got exactly what I wanted. A fulltime distraction, which turned out to be a great way to grow. I met loads of new people. I was away from home. New situations all over the place. At the end of the summer it didn’t feel as if I had enough. Why go back home, straight back to the miserable job search? I got the opportunity to stay, which I grabbed gratefully with both hands.
Things work way different in another country. I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, and I keep on learning.
People don’t hand you an instruction manual, on what to do when you are a complete newbie in France – I guess that happens nowhere. Most things you have to find out for yourself – probably in the hard way. Oh yes, sometimes it’s pretty discouraging. You know what’s even worse? When it’s discouraging and you can’t go to friends you’ve known for years to get some comfort. But it’s all part of the deal. Another part of the deal? New friends. New possibilities, new opportunities in life. Okay – this is starting to look like a rant.
What I wanted to say; even though I came for only 3 months, 1,5 years later I still don’t feel as if my job is done here. Is this my final destination then? No way! The only thing I know, is that I don’t want to leave yet. I like it here.
What is your story? Did you ever go abroad? Did you know exactly how long you wanted to stay, or did you just go with the flow?