One thing that gave me great comfort in France was going to my favorite coffee shop. I would bring music, though their selection was always stellar, books, any work I needed to get done, and even my sketchbook on occasion. What I love about that kind of a day is that, while not necessarily universal, it can be carried out in any of the places in which I have lived. So, here I sit at a beloved coffee shop in a setting that is familiar and I feel less overwhelmed than I have been over the also few weeks.
Between the jet lag, the cultural differences, and being surrounded by my native tongue (you wouldn't think it would be as exhausting as it is), my head hasn't really stopped spinning since the plane landed . On Friday, I intentionally didn't plan anything other than cleaning out my closet and unpacking. My sister and brother-in-law came into town that night, and we just hung out before the whirlwind of activity began on Saturday. On Saturday morning, I was reunited with two of my dear friends that I haven't seen in two years. Holy reunion, Batman! Sarah and I basically didn't stop screaming and jumping as we were hugging each other for about two minutes. It was so surreal to see her and Brad again, not to mention meet their son!
After that reunion came the family reunion of the day: with all of my siblings, siblings-in-law, mom, and a couple friends who are basically family anyway, we went to see my Dad's show. From there, we hung out at IKEA (frustrating flashback there) and then went to my brother's show. On Saturday, the overwhelming emotions were nothing in comparison to being culturally overwhelmed. What do I mean by this? On Saturday morning, I went to the open air market in town. This was a regular occurrence in my life pre-France as well as in France. Here was the main difference: I am able to tune out the French background conversations because I likely wouldn't understand all of them anyway. My ear has been tuned, however, to listening for English-particularly the American accent. All of a sudden, my ears were soaking in every conversation, every word, every call to passersby, and I didn't know what to do with that. I was so overstimulated, but I did get to speak in French with the French nuns who run a pastry booth, which was wonderful.
Throughout the week, which included my first trip to Six Flags, going out to my friend's like house for a day, and many other reunions, my jet lag eased up and I'm pretty much used to speaking in English again. Sometimes I do use French words with an American accent, thinking its the same word and it turns out that I just sound like a crazy person. Oh well, that happens!
When I first started this post a week ago, I was far more nostalgic and overwhelmed, which is why I didn't post it right away. God is so good and I am so blessed to rediscover and create new relationships in multiple countries.