Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunshine in Nancy!

So today, after a week in Nancy, I finally saw the sun! Although it is sooo cold here! 
I also went to a really friendly church and met some nice people :) 

Here are some photos from the beautiful Place Stanislas where I went for a wander and a nice Chocolat Chaud after Church! ...somewhat more beautiful than Trow-vegas! (But I still miss it!)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Moving to Nancy: my first few days...

So I’m finally here in Nancy! It feels like such a long time since I left home now, although it’s been less than a week. This last week has gone so slowly in a way, learning how my life will be for the next 6 months, and adapting to that change. Leaving my beautiful friends and family was not easy. But of course, we are still in touch and they will still be there when get back. My friends are so amazing and 6 months away should not make a difference. I had a really lovely leaving meal and dancing a la moles! And I got to spend some time with some really special people prior to leaving. Leaving was sad, but it’s so exciting to be doing something so completely different now…
On the night before I left, I had a lovely meal with my family at home, and it was just the nicest send-off…it felt so normal, but also very special. I will miss them immensely but I know that they are always there for me and I will visit halfway through and they will visit me. However, I know I should not have been drinking wine until 11.30pm that night when I had to get up at 4am for my flight to France. Consequently, I felt very tired and rather sick for most of the journey and when I arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, I desperately tried to re-hydrate myself. Bit of a long wait for the train while I tried to collect my thoughts and think about the future that I was entering. The train journey was just over an hour, and my new employer, Sarah, was at the central TGV station of Lorraine to pick me up with the oldest and youngest child. She seemed really nice from the outset, and, along with the fact that she is English, this made me feel a lot more at ease.

So I started writing this sat in a little café, early morning after dropping the children off at School and crèche. Needed that strong black coffee – the hardest thing so far is waking up so early, an hour before it gets light…so different to what I’m used to at home – late nights and lie-ins.

Something I’ve realised this week though, is a calm and determination that I have found within myself. My efforts of the past through months of trying to ditch a sentimental attitude that often overcomes me and which is so detrimental to my progress have paid off, and through prayer and greater reliance on God, I have come to a place where I can feel content whatever the situation, knowing that God has great intentions for my life and that he will never put me through anything that I cannot handle.

I really have landed on my feet in this job! My employers are kind and generous. The children (aged 7, 4 and 2) are difficult to manage all together at times are tres adorables. The pay is good and I have a lovely room in a beautiful apartment close to Nancy city centre. I just want to make a few friends now… However, I am also really enjoying having some alone time to reflect and get to grips with my new way of life!
Nancy seems like a great city and much bigger than I imagined, although everything I need is within walking distance!
My Bedroom...

My routine Monday to Friday is this:

- Wake up at 7am – painful!
- Help the children with their breakfast, cleaning teeth etc.
- Then it’s shoes, hats coats, gloves, little one in the pushchair, and out the door by 8am – no mean feat!
- I walk the older boy and girl to school then take the little one to crèche.

Starting next week, I will also be helping out with English lessons for the little ones in the school and sit in on the older children’s French grammar lessons to help me with  my French. The school seems amazing and so accommodating! None of this CRB nonsense as in England, they seem a lot more trusting and just happy that someone wants to help out!

During the afternoons, I will have some free time, do a bit of housework, washing and preparing dinner for the children so that I am free when they come home. I pick them all up at 4.30pm. This has been the hardest part so far as the children play up a bit and I’m not sure how much discipline I am supposed to enforce. Wednesday was the hardest as they don’t have school and I had had them all day! But since then, it has been a lot better. They are really nice children and thank goodness, lights out is at 7.30.

This week I have enjoyed exploring the city, eating lots of cheese and settling into life. I am looking forward to going to a church on Sunday and starting work at the school on Monday.
My grandparents are staying in Nancy tonight on their way to the Alps as they are bringing the rest of my luggage… I don’t think I do travelling light! So looking forward to seeing some very lovely familiar faces!

Also, film recommendation: thanks to my lovely Brother’s excellent film selection skills, I watched ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ last night – just fantastic!
'The Motorcycle Diaries'

Anyway, that’s enough of my ramblings for now! Thank you for reading if you got this far!

A bientot! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Why my 2010 was amazing...

For me, 2010 has been a year of ups and downs, stressful times and times of fun and relaxation. I have learnt so much and feel a lot more grown up than when the year started…but then I guess I might feel like that every year! But somehow, I feel like this is who I am as an adult now: not constantly changing. I have formed opinions and beliefs that are strong, and have become more discerning, not merely lapping things up and believing everything I’m told. Yeah, I might have become more cynical, but I have learned to use my own head, seeking wisdom. Also, to trust in God and know that he has our best interests at heart. As it says in Proverbs (3:5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” This might be the hardest thing for me to do…but I have found that trusting that God works things out for the best and waiting on him, things really do work out in ways that we would have never imagined!

I’ve made A LOT of mistakes this year, but I have learned from them all and grown stronger, learning more about God, his love and his forgiveness, and living my life trusting in him.

The year started with a ski trip with two lovely boys which was an awful lot of fun, but also a bit stressful because I spent the whole time thinking about university work…something that rather consumed me for the following 5 months.
However, this last few months at uni proved to be an incredibly rewarding time as well, becoming closer to my friends, and really working hard to achieve my 2:1, knowing I had given it my best shot.

Soon after finishing uni, I spent a fantastic two weeks driving around France with one of my favourite people, a tent and a Ford Fiesta! This holiday really made me sure that I wanted to spend a more prolonged time in France, and I returned to work full time at the restaurant, and to pursue a job as an Au Pair. I secured the job that I am going to go to in September, and since then, work has just been so fantastic, putting my all into what I do, knowing that there is an end date, and something exciting to follow. Later on in the summer, I spent a week working at a children’s Christian summer camp which really opened my eyes to the need to serve God, through serving others and helping to provide a safe environment for children to learn and come to faith. I also learnt so much about God and the bible and really grew in my faith along with meeting some fantastic people.

Leaving my long-term boyfriend and best friend, no matter how amicable the split, was a very tough time, but recovery was sweet, as I learned to lean more on God. His plans far exceed what I could have ever imagined, and he continues to bring me new joys every day.

Autumn showed me how to be independent. I experienced a week working in a completely different environment, in marketing, and I really enjoyed it. I met new people, made mistakes, learned to love more people. I found a new church, made new friends, appreciated the value of old friends, of family. Looking forward to the prospect of 2011, starting with a fantastic skiing holiday with friends, and a new job in France.

God has blessed my year abundantly. He has worked through difficult situations, and responded to my prayers, constantly surprising me with his amazing grace and showing me how he works in people’s lives, blessing them and giving them hope and new life.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. "
Collossians 3: 23-24