All Seasons Come to an End

A few weeks ago, I went home for what schools typically call “spring break”.  Spring is when my campus is filled with blossoming trees, the smell of fresh mulch that makes me hold my breath, and the comforting warmth wrapping around my body, accompanied by a bright sunlight that I haven’t seen in months. Spring has always been a different experience in my hometown since I live in the north. You have to learn to enjoy every moment of it, because it is fleeting. We get a couple of days a year where the flowers on trees are blooming, but it is a beauty that does not last. This year, I spent my spring break indoors when I wasn’t shoveling the piles of snow that were up to my waist from the Stella blizzard.

It was March. We had a cold winter, but not a bad one in terms of weather. Usually my spirits start to get lifted in March because I know that spring is coming. However, it was already halfway through the month and we had just gotten a huge snowstorm that we spent the entire week shoveling ourselves out of. I knew that spring was still on its way, but I was a lot less optimistic about how quickly it would arrive. At this point, I couldn’t imagine it ever arriving.

Just like the weather goes through different seasons, we go through different seasons in our life. Sometimes we have a period of happiness, enthusiasm, hope. Other times, we find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed, wondering when the next positive season will be coming. Recently I have been going through a lot with some personal issues that have come up, which is why I have not written a blog post in over a month. When I started this blog, I had planned to write a post every week, and I kept up with it even during my busiest times. However, I reached a point where I just couldn’t keep up. I was juggling too many things at once and it was not good for me.

Last week, the weather started getting better. The sun came out and I could finally walk around outside without wearing a winter jacket. To this very minute I still find it hard to believe that it is no longer winter. You will reach this point in your life. If you are going through a hard time, don’t be discouraged! Just as all good things come to an end, so do all bad things.

Studying abroad is a season, high school is a season, what struggles you are going through are just a season in your life. Make the most of the good seasons. Slow down and take everything in. Learn from the bad seasons and know that better things are on their way. You may not be able to see your spring quite yet, but it’s coming.

The Day of Love and Friendship

It has been said that “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” We see what others have on Facebook and we long for the same things. As we get caught up in thinking about what we don’t have, we never stop to think that maybe someone might be looking at our life that way. Have you ever thought that you could have something that everyone else wants? Instead of looking at other people’s lawns, we should work on watering our grass, taking care of what we have. Do you have a close relationship with your sibling? A grandparent? A parent? A pet? Do you have a group of friends that are there to support you, or even a best friend that you know you can trust with everything? Some people don’t have any of that. However, if there is one thing I know, there is always something to be thankful for, no matter how small.

Many people have strong feelings about today. It can be seen in the many ways that people refer to it: Singles Awareness Day, Valentine’s Day, GALentine’s Day, etc. Recently, I was trying to put together a lesson plan that included Valentine’s Day vocabulary in Spanish. When I was researching about the holiday, one interesting phrase that I kept seeing pop up was “El día del amor y la amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship). It made me really think. You can have a significant other and still not do anything for Valentine’s Day. You can be single and still celebrate the day.

When I was younger, my parents would take our family out to a restaurant every year. We celebrated a day of love, but a different kind of love. As I got older, I started celebrating the day with my friends. Currently I am in a relationship, but I have yet to spend the day with my significant other. Two years ago, we weren’t able to celebrate together, so my friends and I put together a delicious potluck dinner in our apartment at school, celebrating a day of friendship. Last year, I was abroad in France while my boyfriend remained in the United States. I couldn’t be with him, and we still talked on Skype, but I went to the movies with two of my good girl friends and then we went out to a restaurant. Both of those days were special days, even if they were not spent in the way that the holiday gets commercialized.

Your special someone does not have to be your significant other. You do not have to have romantic feelings for someone to make today special. If you have a significant other, then great! Celebrate the day with that person and remember to love them every day. If you don’t have a significant other, then spend the day with whoever your special someone is. Celebrate the other kinds of love that exist, and remember to love that person every day as well. Valentine’s Day is a lot like Thanksgiving. We tend to get caught up in life and forget to be thankful and love others daily. Don’t limit love to one day.

French People are NOT Cold

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a cultural mythbuster. Whenever I hear about a stereotype, I like to see if there is some truth to it or if it is completely wrong. One thing I have heard since before going abroad was that Europeans, especially the French, are cold. They will not smile at you when you walk down the street and they are rude, especially Parisians. While I agree that there are probably some, because there are rude people everywhere you go, I have had an overall positive experience. My experience may be different from others but here is what I have encountered:

Nantes

I think I can give a pretty accurate picture of what Nantes is like because I have been here since January. The people here are generally pleasant. I feel comfortable going up to anyone to ask them a question whether it is in French or occasionally in English. Of course I have met moody people, but you will encounter that anywhere.

Marseille

I was not in Marseille for a long time. I spent about four days there during my winter break. I do not know of any stereotypes about people from Marseille but I did hear that people in southern France will be rude to you if you do not speak French or if you cannot speak it well. Everyone in Marseille was nice to my friends and I. We stayed on the outskirts of town but also spent a lot of time in the center of the city. Everybody we talked to was very pleasant and, to my surprise, people would say, “Bonjour,” in passing.

Paris

This is where people usually refer to when I hear about the French being rude. I hear that waiters are especially rude. I was only in Paris for a weekend, so I cannot say much. However, as a tourist, my stay was pleasant. Everyone was nice whether it was the servers we had or someone we met. I met a Parisian woman in Nantes right before this trip and she was the most pleasant French person I have met. She was very outgoing and talkative, not to mention she lit up even more when we told her we were going to Paris for the weekend. Of course, this was my experience as a tourist who can somewhat speak French. I have heard other people from France who say that Parisians are rude, so it very well could be true, but I did not experience that.

Speaking of my experience in Paris, I was there a week ago to celebrate a friend’s birthday with her and some of our other friends. Check out my video (with English subtitles included) to see what we did while we were there! Feel free to also check out my other videos of my travels on my channel that goes by the same name as this blog: PassionForDreaming.