Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A 19-year-old's Adventures in France

I can't believe that Grace left for France a month ago.
The time has flown past for me, here in Ohio.
At first, I was afraid that this was going to be one of those experiences that Grace could look back on and appreciate, rather than enjoying it now. She was tired and frustrated with the language. She panicked when it came time for Earl to come home without her.
I got texts, I got Skype calls. Her eyes were wide and darting around as if searching for the exit.
I talked to my friend Michelle and was surprised to learn that her daughter had felt similar despair while in France the previous year. She suggested I go with the 10-day plan.
"Let's give it 10 days," I told Grace.

And after a few days, when she seemed about to sink into the mire again, unable to negotiate the big city in a foreign language, I read her the riot act.
"Get out of your room. Go get a Metro pass. Make a plan to do something."
And she did.
She's captured days like this where the sky was incredibly blue and no one could be sad or lonely.

Not every moment has been happy since then. She caught a cold and spent a weekend sniffling in bed. But she has embraced the idea of traveling and exploring.
Most everyday she ventures around the city and discovers some small joy.
Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, she messaged me on Skype:
oh my gosh!!! best day for the early part of today, cant wait to tell you about it

That made my heart soar.
Later I found out that she discovered a market and explored it. The little adventures are adding up.
I'm so glad that she can enjoy these moments and know that she'll be able to look back on them with pleasure too.


Linda said...

I'm sure she will look back on her time there with a lot of pleasure. Hard to beat Paris.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I probably would have had similar feelings as your daughter at her age --alone in Paris.

I went to Paris and Switzerland with a group when I was 18. I have to say, my (4) friends and I felt very intimidated and nervous there. Yes in was in the 70's but still.

I'm glad she is taking baby steps and having some fun.

Biggest Fan said...

I'm so thrilled for Grace! It must be a lot of pressure to have all of us watching and judging ".. is she having a good time ..." and all the while implying ..."surely it's her own fault if she isn't .." It's a difficult mire to negotiate.

I don't know how to let go of other people's expectations and just embrace the "suchness" of life but that is what I wish most for you Grace.

Hugs and Cheers.

BFF said...

She is a wonderful young woman who operates on Grace time. She will find her way and be richer, stronger and more Grace as a result. Love seeing her grow here. Miss her, you and all the rest

Trish said...

I'm glad she's having a good time in Paris. Frankly, I think it's impossible not to. And I see she got over to Shakespeare and Company! How fun is that :)

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