next steps

I have a job in France in the fall, teaching English in a small ville I guarantee you’d have to google. It’s already been quite the journey, and still I’m sitting on my couch in mid-Missouri. I applied to the program (called aptly the Teaching Assistant Program in France), in January, nearly hyperventilating as I locked in my region preferences. Home on Christmas break from college, I was called downstairs and shut my laptop with a thud: half relieved, half reluctant to postpone my work. Dad handed me a martini (extra dry) and I wondered aloud if alcohol soothes or exacerbates anxiety. Eh, cheers. As Mom finished dinner, the three of us talked about my future, that slippery dream state I run to and run from. img_6051

In April, the night before my birthday–in the bathtub (isn’t technology lovely?)–I received the email: accepted! I had been assigned to teach somewhere in l’Académie de Clermont-Ferrand. In the middle of a demanding semester, the news couldn’t have been better. I needed a break and this was it. I kept it as much a secret as I could, then told my four lovely French-speaking girlfriends at my birthday dinner (trout, local beer, crème brûlée). They were full of felicitations and made getting the news even better and turning 22 so sweet.


The month of May brought about a little thing called college graduation, one of the happiest days of my life to date. It was lovely to have an answer to all those questions about what I was doing next, too.

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And then summer. Officially the time to tackle the paperwork, planning, and practicalities: all things I tend to postpone, citing pressing tasks such as making banana bread or trying on every pair of shoes I own.

But I’m trying. Slowly earning money, saving it. Researching. Soliciting advice. Sending emails. Driving to Chicago for a visa appointment. Making a packing list.

Getting used to the idea that this is real. Or will be. Or could be. I don’t yet have, for example, housing. Oh.

Aren’t you excited?” I’m used to the question. What I haven’t figured out is how to translate a mess of complicated thoughts and emotions into a chipper one-word response.

To be quite honest, I was excited when this was all far away. Excited when gazing at pictures of Clermont-Ferrand under a purple sky. Excited during a birthday toast. Excited when the future wasn’t now.

Now I am wondering if I will really make this happen. Am I capable, brave, resourceful? Capable, brave, and resourceful enough?

I will be excited when I have a plane ticket in my hand.


One thought on “next steps

  1. Dear Jessica- I am so very proud of you! You have always been an Extraordinary Student!
    It is normal to be apprehensive, but you will be just fine. Believe me!
    As my Mom always says, “Life is an adventure!”
    You will be living an adventure, and we, your audience, will be waiting to hear how your “adventure” unfolds! Thank you for sharing! God speed, and God Bless. Love from Aunt Tudy

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