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Two years ago today, at about seven pm, I left America behind for my first long trip and job abroad. I went to the countryside to teach English to French high school students.  The pay was a pittance, the work wasn’t so hard, the loneliness was unbearable at times, but goodness, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

From the cab driver who entrusted me carefully to a hostel when my travel plans went awry, to the awkward car ride to what would become my home for a few months, to the friends I made and left behind, and the memories and kindred spirits that stay with me, wow. That experience was rich. No regrets.

And it started me on a totally new way of living life, of seeing myself, of really unleashing the dragon.

This year, I’m also trying to do something I’ve never done before- get a full time job in the career field of my choosing. Along the way, I expect I will become a bit more of an adult and maybe even a bit less of a gypsy. Probably, in fact. I am scared down to my bones.

But just like Maria the nun on her way to meet the Van Trapp family, I had confidence in France, and I have confidence now. Like Anna in the King and I, I will find new ways to get to know you, day by day. I do feel a certain kinship to Maria von Trapp. Just stumbling into a new voacation and place in the world, so different than anything you anticipated. I also want to go back to school, again, so that I can get a PhD and teach at the university level. Not sure about what job I’m lookig for right now, to be honest with you, jus tthat I need to get one. For money and for love, and to have some real world perspective to offer my students someday.  It feels like a sidestep to what I feel is my vocation right now, but work experience is central, I think. And there’s a lot of other things in my life I hope to experience, like the joy s of being a young professional in Washington DC.

There’s another part of the story of my Franciversary.

Over the summer, I met someone who was awesome. He was ordinary and real though. I was going to France, he was going back to school, and because of the professional setting I met him it wasn’t appropriate for us to date. When the job ended, we did enjoy a brief moment together, and the feelings were indescribable. You could say it was the booze, or a young girl scared by her imminent departure and wanting a friend, a lover, a confidante, I don’t know, that made it so intense. So intense I kind of had to block it out over time, because it is a happy and sad memory. I told him how I felt, but he said long distance just couldn’t end well. We are friends now, though. He’s someone I have recounted some of my craziest misdeeds to, and I know he trusts me too. I felt pretty rejected for a long time, but at one point he seemed surprised I didn’t realize he was really feeling me too. He lives in DC now, and has a girlfriend, I’m pretty sure via Facebook. I hope someday he’ll be mine though.

Today is his birthday.

I’m sure Destiny knows what she’s doing.

As the Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Well, I’m just befudled, and I guess we all have to live in mystery, reverence, and awe of the forces beyond our understanding, planning, or control which shape our lives. And help us respond with grace.