Hi, I’m nervous- an exercise in being brave

I’m also excited, scared, overwhelmed and anxious all at once. I’m the master of bottling all my emotions up only for them to explode last minute. This post is a bit of a ramble but I haven’t really talked about any of this yet.

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I’m not as brave as I used to be or I’m not as reckless as I used to be- as seen in the art gallery at WMU

So in the past couple months it’s been so encouraging in regards to my decision to move to France to teach! It’s been coming from everyone and I’m really incredible grateful to have so much support.

Now that I have my plane ticket purchased, background check done and visa acquired it’s really starting to set in. My first time to France it didn’t really feel real until I was on the plane taking off. I also have a meager five days left in my Kalamazoo and I’m feeling so many emotions at once.

“You’re 22 and have a job in France?! You totally have it made!”

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Sometimes I feel like this

Don’t get me wrong this job is a dream, I am very lucky. However, I think some people think this cross continental move is something easy I can do without a thought but that’s very wrong. I’m experiencing pre-departure or application anxiety for the second time and so many variables are different this time around. Sometimes when it comes to travel blogs or looking at my Instagram someone could be like well, “22 and you have a job in France?! You totally have it made!” like an Uber driver said to me a few weeks ago. Maybe because I’m so used to telling people nonchalantly and having them give me wide eyes in return. Maybe this is because social media can gloss over the tough stuff and not tell the whole story. It’s easy to portray the illusion of a trip that is nothing but smooth sailing.

You’re still going to Europe? Good luck.” “Aren’t you glad to be out of the US? With the election and all?” “Are you going to marry a Frenchman?” etc…

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If only life abroad was like all of the movies I’ve seen that take place in France, but it’s not

I suppose those are the comments that are basically like, aren’t you glad to be out of the States/Michigan as if I like France way more than America which isn’t true. There are things I like and dislike about both countries. After all, no place is perfect, I have a love for both places for different reasons. I also know I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am in life but as excited as I am, I’m still a bit scared to make this leap. Making peace with the things I’m going to ‘miss out on’ here per say for other opportunities abroad is difficult at first but I’ve done it before. I’m definitely not trying to be a brat or ungrateful or anything but it’s complicated.

“Oh, Liz just calm down/chill out/stop worrying so much, it’ll all be okay”

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Sometimes I also feel like this

Easier said than done.

I’ve always been a ‘worrier’, I remember my dad calling me that even as a kid. I have a kind of nervousness that I’ve never been able to shake in addition to depression that runs deep on both sides of my family. So whenever anyone has tried to reassure me with comments like: Oh, Liz just calm down/chill out/stop worrying so much. It’s pretty counter productive because that’s just the way that my brain works. I appreciate your concern and I know things will be okay but saying that to me triggers this alarm that says “everything will NOT be okay” in my head. I have a way of processing things and deep down I am going to anxiety about maybe some little things and some bigger things. It’s my way of being prepared and working things out. It’s also not a permanent state I’m always in. I wish I could stop it but I can’t, believe me I’ve tried. I’m an optimist but also a realist and this time I have expectations vs an ‘idea’ of what life abroad is like.

“But, you’ve been abroad before, you’ll be fine”

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This is my favorite patch on my jean jacket and new motto, patch by Stay Home Club

I will be! I’m just dealing with anxiety. Take my word when I say I love traveling by myself I’ve done many trips before solo and I moved abroad by myself before. It’s just that I’ve gotten so comfortable in the life I’ve built here in my readjustment from France. Of course I’m having a little of separation anxiety and a whole new set of worries this time. Maybe I’m more nervous this time because I don’t have a group of students to hang out with or that I’ll be abroad longer or even with what’s been happening in the world. It even happened when I moved from my hometown to Kalamazoo. I remember wanting to leave and transfer out but I was so happy that I stayed because I ended up loving it here. The same thing happens abroad only you have to lean on yourself more. I’m trying my hardest not to focus on the things I’ll miss out miss out on and I’m trying to enjoy the rest of my time in Michigan. I know in time that I’ll come to love my new future home abroad same as I did with Besancon.

I’m sure that France this time around IS going to be all the things I hope it is and more. I will make sure of that. Everything will be okay, in time.

For all of the people who have been way too kind and have said that I’m going to do good/succeed abroad, I appreciate that so much. It’s those comments I’ll look back on in my first moments of readjustment. If I haven’t gotten around to seeing you before I leave know that I’ve been crazy busy and have been dealing with a lot this summer. And obviously I still care a lot! Know that I’ll miss you and my dear Kalamazoo and my 4 years of memories made here. Because I’m sappy and nostalgic even when I’m trying to hold it all together, at the same time I’m excited to see friends abroad again. I’m so excited to share all the things I love about Kalamazoo, Michigan and the US with my future students!

If you see me around these next couple weeks give my teary eyed self a hug!

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Anne Donnelly
    August 30, 2016

    I have lived in France twice before and I still feel so many of these same things going back for a third stint!! But I think that nerves and anxiousness is a sign of something being really important to you, and scary emotions are better than none at all 🙂

    Reply
    1. Elisabeth King
      August 30, 2016

      Definitely Anne! On the brink of something exciting and it’s definitely important to me. I know it’s normal and it would probably even happen if I went another time as well.

      Reply
  2. hollytee21
    September 1, 2016

    I’m a way off yet, but I’m already having these worries about going back to Japan to work!
    Glad to see I’m not alone in that. And also, like you said, you’ve already proved to yourself how strong you are, so once you adjust I know it will be an amazing thing for you. (I know… it’s getting there that is hard.) But you’ll do it for sure!

    Reply
    1. Elisabeth King
      September 2, 2016

      I definitely think it’s an adjustment every time, especially after staying a while in each country. You definitely know the beginning to each adjustment sucks a little haha. I’ll definitely be impatient to be all settled in.

      Reply

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