Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Night at the Museum.

Taking the Initiative

Wow, another week has already passed and I'm still not quite sure how - time goes so quickly here! I would say that things are settling down, which they are, but at the same time, each week God brings a new challenge to test my confidence/abilities/trust in Him. This week, it has been all about taking the initiative.

Now, to explain, you probably all know that I am a reasonably confident person, happy with myself and the person God has made me to be, but I am not the most outgoing, forward-thinking person in the world (for example, if someone says: 'Hey guys, I've got a great idea - let's do this!', it's not normally me). However, due to the circumstances, I am finding more and more that this is exactly what's required of me. If I want people to talk to me, and make friends, and do exciting things (all of which is obviously true), I have to talk to them, and make friends, and think of exciting things to do. All this might seem ridiculously obvious to those reading this post, but for me it's something I'm still working on! It is also doubly important in a culture where I am, essentially, an outsider - there are many similarities between French and British culture, but the differences are becoming more prominent as I am starting to work out where people are coming from and what attitudes they have towards life in general. My current target is to be continuously pushing the boat out, talking to people even when I feel fed-up/tired/shy/embarrassed of my very English accent (delete as appropriate). And when I do, good things happen! French people are actually quite nice, after all...

So for all of you who are giving me prayer support (for which I am incredibly grateful), I would just ask you to pray for strength, courage and confidence in Christ - that way, I can walk out with my head held high and take the initiative whenever I'm called to do so. Or at least, that's the plan!

Until next time!
Much love xxxx

p.s. I am well aware that there are many details that I have failed to mention in this week's post - for those who are interested, there are photos on Facebook, and I'll try to include more next week (but I make no promises!).

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Snapshot.

Note: It's usually more sunny than this!

Taking on the Challenge

Ok, so it's day eleven and here I am, trying to think of a way to sum up the last seven days in one short paragraph. It's quite hard! I finished my last post with work, so I'll start there and see where I end up. Work here is great fun - every day there's something new, many excited children and a lot of dressing up (pirates, anyone?)! The great thing about children is that they don't care that you aren't French - they just go ahead and speak anyway. I've had many a child come up to me, jabbering excitedly about something or other, and as long as I nod and look interested, they seem to be happy. The difficulty comes when I have to give instructions - the accent is hard enough when you're speaking to one person, but a group of 30? Quite a challenge! But a challenge I can take. I am really enjoying this new stretching of my capabilities, and it's definitely never boring. I even had to translate from French to German for most of the days this week for a little German girl called Lily! In short, the work this week has been incredibly tiring but incredibly rewarding.

On to of that, there's the nightlife. I think I'm going to have to continue, as there's still a lot to be said - I hope you don't mind that this post is a bit longer than the previous two. As nearly everyone lives here at the holiday village, there is a lot of opportunity to meet people and make friends with the other 'animateurs' (and others). In addition, we are right near the beach, so there is a pretty good opportunity to go down to 'la plage', or even 'la crique' (WordReference tells me that this is a cove) to do a bit of socialising! The language is rather more difficult when it is dark/noisy/full of people, so I am quite often a silent bystander, but I'm getting there on the talking front - at least they tell me my accent is 'mignon' (cute) - a little patronising but positive all the same. I have also made friends with a Spanish girl called Lara, so quite often I end up spending the night talking in two or three different languages!

OK, I think that's enough for now. I'll tell you all about the people here, and the events that are put on, and perhaps that fact that I've signed up to be in a show (!) next week. That is, unless something else momentous happens that I don't know about yet. Oh, and we are going to have another resident in our little flat this afternoon (Marion), so I shall have to tell you all about her. Until then - farewell - au revoir!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

And so, the journey begins.

Only a few days in, but it seems a long time ago now that I was sitting in my bedroom writing my first post. It's not just the distance that separates me from that place now. The over-packed suitcase is gone, now my surroundings are quite different - I am in a white, reasonably big, slightly dirty kitchen with a large bay window at the front, looking out onto a paved courtyard, from which I can see the rolling hills of the Côte d'Azur, and hear the cicadas as they sing (very loudly!). An idyllic setting, really. And I can't complain - I feel that God has truly blessed me in these first few days of my stay here in France, and I hope that He continues to do so! There have ben a few teething problems (like the fact that I arrived, exhausted and rather sweaty, to be greeted with a very confused employer who wanted to know why I was here several days too early for my shift!), but these are massively outweighed by the gifts that God has given me - a friendly, helpful flatmate called Marie (who seems to know everyone!), a reasonably active social life, and of course, a few days to settle in and explore. It's still a challenge to understand everything that people are saying, and I am yet to build up the confidence to really step out and lead a conversation, but hopefully this will come with time. I look forward to the challenges that the next few days will bring me, as I start work on Monday, and pray for confidence in tackling them head-on. This was not a bad beginning!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Traveller's Playlist

1. Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) 3:45 Laura Marling I Speak Because I Can
2. You Belong To Me 2:41 Jason Wade Shrek
3. Other Side Of The World 3:35 KT Tunstall Eye To The Telescope
4. Everything Is New 4:00 Jack Peñate Everything Is New
5. Do What You Do 4:17 Noah And The Whale Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
6. Fill My Little World (Edit) 3:39 The Feeling Fill My Little World - EP
7. Feel To Follow 3:29 The Maccabees Given To The Wild
8. To Ohio 3:18 The Low Anthem Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
9. I Go I Go I Go 3:12 Wave Machines Wave If You're Really There (Bonus Track Version)
10. Leaving Blues 2:58 Bombay Bicycle Club Flaws
11. Die Stadt 3:36 Klee Die Stadt - Single
12. Uummannaq Song 3:39 KT Tunstall Tiger Suit
13. Travelling the Face of the Globe 3:48 Oi Va Voi Travelling the Face of the Globe
14. C'est Ma Terre 3:51 Christophe Maé Mon Paradis
15. Sweetest Goodbye 4:31 Maroon 5 Songs About Jane
16. I'm Leavin' You 3:00 Howlin' Wolf AS Set Works 08/09
17. Eres Todopoderoso 5:22 Danilo Montero Danilo (En Vivo)
18. Everytime We Say Goodbye 3:33 Ella Fitzgerald That's Jazz (Disc 2)
19. You're All I Need To Get By 2:50 Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell Capital Gold Soul Classics
20. Take Back The City 4:40 Snow Patrol A Hundred Million Suns
21. City Machine (Single Edit) 3:34 Leo Abrahams City Machine - Single of the Week
22. Can't Go Home 3:02 Good Old War Can't Go Home - Indie Spotlight Free Download
23. I Gotta Go 3:05 Robert Earl Keen I Gotta Go - Single
24. Long Way From Home 3:11 Oi Va Voi Travelling the Face of the Globe
25. Adios Adios (Farewell, Farewell) 4:25 Salsa Celtica El Agua De La Vida
26. Blowin' In The Wind 2:49 Bob Dylan The Collection
27. Wherever You Will Go 3:29 The Calling Camino Palmero
28. Canaan's Land 3:54 Kate Rusby Little Lights
29. S-Bahn fahren Deluxe 2:24 Ich, Alexander Lieber traurig als wütend
30. Steppin Out 4:40 Electric Light Orchestra Out Of The Blue
31. Englishman In New York 4:27 Sting Fields Of Gold: The Best Of Sting 1984-1994
32. Promised Land (feat. Naomi Davis) 2:38 Naomi Davis & Sugarman Three Songs From the House of Soul Sampler
33. In The City 2:56 Madness Complete Madness
34. Living For The City 3:41 Stevie Wonder The Definitive Collection
35. I've Got The World On A String 3:59 Anita O'Day That's Jazz (Disc 2)
36. This City Never Sleeps 6:40 Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
37. The City 3:55 Ed Sheeran +
38. Build a Life 3:47 Captain This Is Hazelville
39. She Will Be Loved 4:18 Maroon 5 Songs About Jane
40. The Planets Bend Between Us 4:18 Snow Patrol A Hundred Million Suns
41. What A Wonderful World 2:19 Louis Armstrong Essential Songs
42. The Only Living Boy In New York 4:01 Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
43. With A Little Help From My Friends 2:44 The Beatles 1967-1970
44. Friends 3:10 Band Of Skulls The Twilight Saga: New Moon
45. Swansea 4:15 Bombay Bicycle Club Flaws
46. Feels Like Home 3:12 Newton Faulkner Hand Built by Robots
47. Piazza, New York Catcher 3:02 Belle & Sebastian Juno
48. Build A Home 3:37 The Feeling Together We Were Made
49. Reaching Out 3:13 Kate Bush The Sensual World
50. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine 4:04 The Killers Hot Fuss
51. One World (Not Three) 4:47 The Police Ghost In The Machine
52. Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down 6:15 Noah And The Whale Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
53. Brand New Day 6:20 Sting Brand New Day
54. Set My World On Fire 3:57 The Feeling Together We Were Made
55. New Orleans 3:37 Emmylou Harris New Orleans - Single
56. My Friends 3:58 Laura Marling A Creature I Don't Know
57. Airplanes 3:58 Local Natives Airplanes - Single of the Week
58. Perfect World 3:44 The Cranberries Roses (Extended Version)
59. Dive 3:59 Steven Curtis Chapman Speechless
60. Paper Aeroplane 3:19 KT Tunstall Drastic Fantastic
61. So Good 3:33 B.o.B So Good
62. Bring It On 4:16 Steven Curtis Chapman Declaration

(sorry - I am new to this - can't work out how to do a direct link!)


I am sitting here on my bed, in the midst of chaos - a very full-looking suitcase by my side; a gradually dwindling 'to do' list and a certain nervous feeling that I just can't seem to shake. The reason? I'm moving to France tomorrow! This moment has been a long time coming, in fact many years, as I am a student about to embark on the year abroad that I have been looking forward to since before I came to Uni. Now that it is here, however, everything is a little too real. I am now coming to appreciate the beauty that is in friendship, comfort and homeliness - and how lucky I am to enjoy all three in abundance. However, the show must go on, and a great one it will be too! This year I will be heading to France, Germany and Spain on my travels, and I hope to encounter many fantastic things along the way. This blog is here to document my journey - from la France to Deutschland to España, from hot to middling to cold, from my present self to the person I'll be in 12 months' time (or so). As a Christian, I know that things will change, but I also know that God will be by my side, and that He is powerful and awesome and just pretty amazing really. Also, He has a plan, which is rather handy when you have none! For this, I put this next year into His hands - and I know He will not let me down. In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, 'Bring It On'!

p.s. If you don't know who Steven Curtis Chapman is, look him up. A brilliant artist, and well worth a listen.