Passport To Paris
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Passport To Paris

Adventures, Blessings, and Stories

Passport To Paris
Grace Bolinger

I’ve done my fair share of trekking around the world; however, I forgot a few important things as I embarked on my journey to move to Paris, France, for a couple months. I feel blessed to be in this place known for its good food, beautiful architecture, historical artifacts, and lights. I feel nervous to be in this place, but I have already learned a lot that I will hopefully continue to expound on as I live my daily life here.

I had the privilege of my mom traveling with me for a week, and when I waved goodbye to her at the metro station, it was like the scene in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” when her mom starts to cry, so she starts to cry. Yeah, mom and I both did our share of crying—unbeknown is who started crying first. It was probably me. Anyway, I realized something very important on my way back to the flat: I am actually living here. I am a resident of Paris for the next two months—what an amazing opportunity. It felt more like a trip while my mom was here, mostly because we did so many fun things. Now, however, I get to be one of the “natives,” walking to and from work every day.

The thing that is different about me from the rest of the actual natives is that I realize that my time is limited here. I have this disease, or blessing—however you decide to look at it—where I tend to want to make the most of everything. A ride on the metro is not just an everyday ride on the metro for me. It is a time to be a light, to enjoy the sights I see through the window, to listen to the different languages all around me, and to reflect on the events of the day or the week. I like to think that I have this goofy grin on my face because of the light that Christ shines in and through my life—if it weren’t for Him, I would have nothing, be nothing, and I certainly would not be embarking on this adventure.

Something I seemed to overlook was the language barrier. There has been more than one time that I said “hello” to someone, or wanted to say “gracias.” People have assumed that I am an American before I even open my mouth, so most of them will speak English to me. When I ran into people who don’t know how to speak English, my very little knowledge of Portuguese and French only gets me so far. I offered a girl speaking Portuguese some chocolate, but when she shook her head no, I didn’t know what to say. I always have a lot to say—my fiancé, family, and apartment mates can all attest to that. Not being able to speak to someone is such a hard thing for me. I just try to smile and point and gesture and hope that they understand. I am thankful that the school I am teaching in is an American school; although, as I am writing this, everything is being said in a British accent in my head. Perhaps I am watching too much “Downton Abbey,” along with only hearing English spoken with a British accent. Maybe I will return with a British accent; I guess we will have to see.

My mom did make sure that I did a ton before my actual teaching experience begins. We say the Eiffel Tower, went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, explored the Muse D’Orsay, prayed in Notre Dame, enjoyed Disneyland Paris, and were enamored by the Palace of Versailles. That was Monday through Thursday, a different adventure for each day. All were amazing, and all involve stories too long for this article to house.

There are many more stories and adventures to come—stay tuned. Whenever you combine teaching with anything or travel with anything, the stories you hear are bound to require your ears to wrap themselves around each tale. I am thankful. I look forward to my time here. I look forward to why God wants me here. I hope to bring His light to the City of Lights.

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