A Summary of My Life Abroad


A Year in the Life of Mimi

Over one year ago I moved to France. Soon I will be returning back to the US after learning patience with the French government, how to live on my own and pay bills, and after having visiting cities in 17 different countries. The experience was life changing. And though I suffered bumps along the road, trying to conquer my anxieties, and a lot of language barriers, I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. So here is a summary of my life abroad. 

July was the month where it all began. My adventure began on July 14, 2014. I kissed my family goodbye with tears in my eyes an boarded a plane to London. I didn't know if I was going to make it. All I knew was that I was taking the biggest risk of my life. After spending 24 hours in London, I made my way to France with two giant staircases. For the test of the month I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Normandy, visiting family that I haven't seen for year. I made trips to Paris often, and within two weeks of leaving the US, I found an apartment in Paris. Now looking back on it, finding an apartment in Paris isn't that easy, finding a good apartment in Paris is even harder. Clearly I have a guardian angel watching over me.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

August was spent traveling and learning how to work the French bureaucracy. I spent half of August living with my aunt and uncle because I was still setting up my apartment. My cousins took me to the north of France to see a museum. Others took me around Normandy to visit castles and churches. I went to Amiens with my aunt and uncle who indulged me in a little WWI history. I also went to St. Malo in Bretagne with other cousins for a few days. My first solo adventure was spent in Amsterdam where I had to cut my trip short when my grandmother passed away. And while it was a very sad occasion, the good news was that I got to see my dad. By the end of August I was moved in and living in Paris, though I was still a little scared of the city.

September started off as a difficult month when two family members passed away within a week of each other. One in the US and one in France. My year started rough. But I got to see my dad once again as we spent a few days in Paris and he took me to see the D-Day beaches of Normandy. I also visited Chartres and it's beautiful cathedral. But most of my time was spent adjusting to being a nanny since I started working on September 1st and I was also an intern at a Montessori school. I felt like I was constantly discovering new things, so often that it probably helped with all my grieving.

Lisbon, Portugal

October was a good month. It started off with a weekend spent in London where I finally got to see the British Museum. I then went and spent my October break in Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, and Avignon and absolutely loved this solo travel. The liveliness of the cultures and it's colorful atmosphere made for a great adventure. The rest of October was spent working and visiting family.

November was spent working and exploring Paris. The weather felt like it was finally changing and I was excited to be done with the humidity. I spent a weekend in Milan where I learned to pack your clothes in plastic in case it rains. Not a fun experience but still a beautiful city. I think everyone thought I was crazy for eating gelato in the rain, but you got to take advantage while you're there, rain or shine.

Berlin, Germany

December was amazing. Christmas time in Paris is beautiful and I made sure to see as much of it as possible. Once done with work I went straight to Brussels where I learned all about the importance of Christmas markets while traveling. You get to sample a little of everything. And while I thought I was cold in Brussels, I had another thing coming in Berlin. Christmas was spent with family and I did get a little homesick, though it was just a quick feeling as I shoved my face with delicious food and then headed off to Berlin, my dream city. To say I fell in love with Berlin is an understatement. Even though I felt like my face was going to burn off in the cold, I had an amazing time discovering it's history. I then finished my year under the Eiffel Tower counting down to the new year and my next adventure.

January was an odd month for me. I was super burnt out and wanted nothing to do with work. Not once did I regret my decision of moving abroad, I just wasn't feeling work. And that affected my travels. I didn't travel at all in January, which is sad since I love traveling so much. I was just so mentally drained that I could not bring myself to travel. I think part of it was also due to the fact that I was so excited for my mom to come in February. Time seemed to pass super slow.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

February seemed to pass by so fast. My mom visited me and we spent a few days together in Paris before heading to Warsaw, a city that I've always wanted to visit. And since my mom is fine with going pretty much anywhere, Poland was our destination. I then followed her to London to say goodbye and stayed behind a few days to visit Bath, Salisbury, and Stonehenge. I then headed to Verona because I like to get a fix of Italy in every now and then and then went to Munich where I was reminded why I love Germany so much. I visited Neuschwanstein Castle, ate some great sausages, and learned about some interesting history. I can't remember much from February because all I did was travel.

March is my birthday month and it was the first time that I celebrated my birthday in the country that I was born in. I spent the day with family and great food. March however did seem to drag on with work, mostly because I was looking forward to April and realized that I had officially exceeded my halfway mark. I did fit in a few day trips of visiting Tours and Orleans as well as exploring Paris.

Budapest, Hungary

April seemed to pass by too quickly. It was the month where I really started to think about my future and how I would eventually make it back to Europe. It was the month that I decided that teaching isn't for me, or at least right now it isn't. In April I was also lucky enough to get a visit from my dad again, on happy terms this time. We visited Compiegne and Chantilly. In April I also got a visit from a friend and we went to Budapest, Auschwitz, Krakow, and Vienna. It was a whirlwind of a trip and it was amazing. April was a great month!

May was another fast paced month. Work seemed to drag on, but at least with all the holidays, I didn't have to work often. This meant that I got to travel a lot. I was gone every weekend. I went to Prague and instantly fell in love. I then went to Bruges and Ghent and ate amazing food. In between I got to visit my dad because once again there was another death and he came for the funeral. It was weird saying goodbye to him the last time because I knew I'd be home soon and that my life was going well. I then finished May in Nuremberg eating fantastic sausages. Yes May was good.

Prague, Czech Republic

June seemed to drag on and go by way too quickly at the same time. I started June off by celebrating D-Day in Normandy for the first time. The rest of the month was spent working late and pondering my future. I knew that my trip would soon be over and it felt like the worst break up of my life was heading my way. June was also the month where I got my financial aid, it just took eleven months. I also made a quick trip to Lyon to say goodbye to some cousins and eat some good food. For some reason, June was the month where I got really nostalgic, and I hadn't even left.

In July, everything went by super fast. I only spent a few days working and then I was reunited with my cousin. I showed her around Paris for a few days before quitting my apartment. Having that apartment was probably the most adult thing that I've done in my life. We were able to see the fireworks for the 14 Juillet. We also visited Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, Rome, Pompeii, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, and Neuschwanstein. We are still on our journey and won't stop for a while. July marked one year since my move. One year since the start of my adventure. And one year since I found my place in this world. This year, though it had many ups and downs, was the best year of my life. And I'm hoping that many will follow. 

You Might Also Like