Lindsay, Outbound to France

To start off with, exchange isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. My exchange so far has had its share of ups and downs. There have been days when I want nothing more than to go home, and if you're a future outbound, I am sure you will have days like this, as well. Exchange is not the easiest thing in the world. From the outside looking in, it appears like a year vacation or just traveling by yourself with the help from Rotary. But, really this is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. One of the biggest Challenges while on exchange is trying to deal with all the emotions... I have been Happy, sad, lonely, confused (a lot) and exhausted. With that being said, this will be the best experience of your life. They say after 3 months in your country it gets easier. I have recently passed my 3-month mark, and it has gotten a lot easier. I have noticed, especially within the last week that I am understanding a lot more and starting to process French faster. Also, now I am a lot less homesick and I'm even considering moving back in a couple years. When I first got to France, I was so in love ( mostly because I was still in the honeymoon stage) and then I was getting really homesick and questioning why I was here and wanted to return to The U.S. But, now that I’ve really adjusted, I can see this country for what it really is, beautiful. I am really starting to enjoy the food, especially. if you know me, you know I HATE cheese. Well, I'm actually kind of starting to like cheese now. I honestly love the lifestyle I live here, I exercise more often and I eat better both in quality and in health. The last time I weighed myself I had lost 7 pounds, but now I think I am starting to gain it all back because of the constant boulangerie trips. I think this is the first time in my life where I am genuinely happy. As, I said earlier it’s not all rainbows and butterflies and of course I have my bad days but I am truly happy here. I really cannot imagine having to return back to reality and to my old life. it is going to be absolutely heart-breaking and I am not looking forward to that day. Originally I had planned to come home in may for graduation and walk with my class but as time goes on, the more and more I fall in love with the food, culture, people and the country. As time goes on, the more I never want to leave. I want to take a second and thank every single person who has made this adventure possible for me because It is truly the adventure of a lifetime. As some people know, I was not guaranteed to go on exchange and I was " wait listed". But I prayed every night and I wished on every eyelash that I would be able to experience this . I know God sent me to France for a reason and I cannot wait to find out why. I am incredibly blessed and thankful for all of the people I have met on the way, all the new experiences I have been able to experience, all the new food I have tried and all of the love I have found within myself and the world around me.

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