Somewhere in my infinite wisdom (hahaha), I wrote something in my journal in January that has stayed with me. We had just gotten back from our Support Raising Training and already I could perceive what this year could bring. I wrote something to the effect of "This year is going to be one of the hardest years yet." So much of life is, in fact, perspective, but after a couple of rough months leading up to this moment, I was sure it just was going to be that way and that was ok. There have been some tough moments, days, weeks, discussions, and some added stress that I didn't handle so well. I had to come to terms with Things As They Are.
Deciding to finally go to another country/continent after wanting to for so many years was/is still an emotional hurdle. I know what I am trading in all too well (family, friends, my local bookclub, ENGLISH!) but I know that whatever is waiting on the other side is worth it. I love other languages but living surrounded by one is going to take some adjustment. My family isn't down the street but they're only a car ride away and we're in the same time zone. I will probably miss Sonic and Chick-fil-a some days. I'm going to have to learn to make real Mexican food and good southern biscuits before we go. My child will be soon enough correcting my speech instead of the normal other way around. I will miss my bookclub ladies and all the friends we have all over the US. BUT! Change isn't bad; it's just different. I am confident that I will gradually be alright at French. I will make more friends. I'll still have the internet and can keep up with everyone. I will be able to use it to even make free phone calls home, video capabilities included. I will meet all sorts of amazing people I never would otherwise and will probably get on fine with French people because I am a bit reserved myself. I will probably find things that I like about France that we don't do in America. I will find out if women play boules or if it really is just men and if people play it in the cities. <-- Important question!
Cleaning out everything we own has been a relief every time. I think I'm on the 3rd stuff-purge this year and there will be another when we get ready to move to France. I was a packrat as a child and it wasn't until college that I got *really* serious about getting rid of some of my hoard. I still somehow managed to move to PA with some of it and moved it 3 times since. I really don't need to keep notes from high school classes at this point or even some of my college classes. I probably shouldn't be hanging on to posters that used to be on my bedroom walls or magazine special editions about a dead musician. So I'm finally not. And it feels GOOD! There is some extra trash this week and the recycling bin is at max capacity. I plan to fill it one more time before we turn over the keys in a couple of weeks. We're also having a garage sale and what we don't sell, we're donating. (More stuff we don't have to move!)
It feels good to be on track for something that I often thought I should be doing over the years. I never would have predicted France when I first decided at 17 that I wanted to be a missionary. I also never would have predicted that it would be this many years out from college (I graduated in 2001) or that I'd be taking a child with me. I never did get that English lit degree or even continue on to a Masters program in some field more related to my BA. I'm a housewife and stay-at-home mom. Life is just full of surprises! But I see how over these years that God has challenged me and reshaped me so that when I *do* go, I'll be more prepared than I would have been at 21. I have learned new things, developed new interests and spent some time growing up. I'm still adapting to motherhood, but I have a great kid. Some people who still haven't found out might be surprised that I have a kid at all!
Right now, as I consider the packing that I need to start doing tomorrow, I am so thankful that I have boxes still from the last move, that they have somewhere to go now and that I have a warm bed waiting for me when I close up my laptop. I have a family that loves me, a husband that dotes on me, a kid that kisses me even when I am sick and gross, and good friends to boot. Everything else is just bumps along the way. God is good.