Happy New Year’s to all my friends who stumble upon and choose to read this blog of mine. I’ve been rather lazy when it comes to writing, as it was my first Holiday season spent away from America and I just wanted to experience the days as they came.
We met Dragan’s family in Annecy, France on the 23rd, and I will post about that next, but then we spent the next 3 nights where Dragan grew up in Bellegarde, France.() It’s an old, medieval feeling small town on a mountainside about 45 minutes from us, and we stayed in the home Dragan lived his life in. It has been remodeled so we were comfortable in a downstairs apartment. His brother and his family were visiting from Hong Kong and had the main house and his other brother and his family live across the street! They put alot of effort in to making us comfortable as we had NYC bedding and a drip coffee machine in our room. :-)The experience was very different for me. Not bad, just different. I feel that in my family and mostly in the US, Christmas is about magic and creating that for the children, and Santa Clause and decorations and traditions…….and most importantly to me and my family……celebrating the Birth of Christ. Here in France, the experience proved to be more about food and wine and eating and spending time with eachother, which is great too, but just different for me. We had a huge meal on Christmas Eve, with like 12 courses, and then on Christmas Day Dragan and I actually missed the opening of the gifts by the kids, which was disappointing to me……but the rest of the day was nice and relaxing. 🙂 We played games and watched Jasper love having a yard to run in, and ate more food! Then on the 26th, we spent the day at Dragan’s aunt and uncle’s with all his cousins and their kids and had a fun day eating even MORE! It was delicious and a really nice time.
Here are some pics. 🙂
First, this is the house where Dragan grew up and the view in the morning from the terrace.
This is the fresh pig coming in for our Dec 26th meal…..the poor thing still had his face. Some of the family below.
I wanted to write today to attempt to share my experience this Holiday Season and to discuss my year. I read a friend’s Facebook status earlier today that stated she did not want to “humble brag” and after laughing, I realized I also didn’t want to do this. I want to share all that I’m thankful for, but I also want to share real feelings and experiences. So…
First, I have traveled more this year than ever in my life. I am so lucky to have seen some places I never expected to see and to have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people along the way. My senses have been awakened as I have seen with not only my eyes, but with my tastebuds, my sense of smell, my hearing as I’ve listened to points of views from many accents, and finally with my emotions, as I’ve cried over beauty and of the feeling that the world is so much bigger and more magical than I dreamed. That being said, my courage has been tested as I fear flying and everytime I walk onto a plane, I’m pushing through a giant fear in my life. I want to say it has gotten easier, but indeed it does not. I just feel the fear and choose to do it anyway……usually with a glass of champagne and alot of praying. 😉
Second, I’ve learned I’m more close minded that I believed myself to be. This is hard to admit, but I’ve realized that as much as I love to meet new people and experience new cultures, I have found myself to be, at times, defensive of what I know to be true in my mind. I don’t always express my discomfort, but it has been uncomfortable for me to be immersed in something so removed from what I’ve always known, and to understand alot of the time, I don’t like it. It’s nice to be comfortable. I believe discomfort promotes growth, but I often long to be surrounded by those who know me well and share my beliefs. I have to work to remain open to learning and to be less defensive when I feel humbled……..
On to my next point……I have been humbled. Oh, my, how I have been humbled. Moving here after working for blood sweat and tears to prove myself successful in NYC, I assumed it would be easy for me. I assumed having worked and sold high end real estate in what I believed the greatest city in the world would put me ahead, but here I sit, over a year later and still struggling to get not only a job, but even an interview. Even though I recently sold a property in London……nothing…..:-( I only speak fluent English and it has humbled me to my core that I’m not considered worthy here to employ. The Swiss are difficult……well, I have found that to be true as language is the door to the world, I do not yet possess that key. 2015 will be the year I do what my father always taught me and “figure it out” but I will have to keep you posted on just HOW I figure it out.
Third, I’ve been learning the language of love and that it is harder to love than to say you love. I say this, because I have been fortunate to spend alot of time with my parents this year, awaiting a Visa, and dealing with logistical issues that brought me to the States. And…..I love my parents. I realized that even more and to love them makes it all the more difficult to live so far away. I wish I lived down the street, but I live across an ocean. I loved my dog Bailey, as I’ve spoken about alot, and to have learned to let go for a time and then to lose her forever, hurts and makes me not want to love anymore. But then to get a new puppy and to open a heart again, knowing the hurt that can come is hard. For me. And most of all, it’s hard sometimes for me to love my husband as I’m not as independent as I was when I met him, and I can, at times, feel resentful, and he comes from a different culture than me, and as I said, I’m not as open minded as I thought, so it’s hard to let go of some of the ways that I’ve always done things. Any marriage requires this, but that’s why I’m saying that to learn the language of love is difficult. Now I can understand better why Jesus said the greatest commandment is love. Because loving others is so against our selfish nature, it makes us more like HIM when we are able to choose to love someone even when we don’t feel like it. I acknowledge I have a ways to go. And, to let go of someone or something in your life that is not good for you isn’t to not love it, but is to love yourself, and THAT is ok as well. It’s not only ok, it’s absolutely pivotal, as if we do not love ourselves and respect ourselves, how can we love others.
These are some, a very small bit, of the things I’ve learned this year living abroad and in my first year of marriage.
For my New Year, I resolve to try for a few things.
One, I resolve to eat a pain chocolate, croissant aux almond, OR fromage tart (not all 3) each morning while I live here and not feel guilty about it. I think this will only help me adapt. 🙂
Two, I resolve to try to love those around me better; in my words and in my actions. I want to try to listen more than I speak, and to understand those around me.
Third, I resolve to try to not be so afraid of all the new experiences I encounter and to not be afraid to put myself out there, in this world.
Forth, I resolve to respect myself and surround myself with others who show love and respect and to let go of the ones who don’t, AND to be ok with that decision.
Lastly, I resolve to understand that I am responsible for my happiness. Charles Swindoll stated, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” That’s not to say, I won’t lament my experiences here for you to laugh at, but I do need to have a better attitude at times, and not always let other people affect me as much.
VOILA. There you go. I hope I have expressed myself as transparently as possible. 🙂 So many of you send me messages after I write a post like this, and I would love to hear your resolutions and experiences as well.