Say Au Revoir to the Need to Control Everything

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One thing I've noticed that a lot of Americans have trouble dealing with during the process of moving on over to France is the needing to LET GO of the reins a little bit.

What I mean is that (and I'm speaking about myself here, too!) we are so accustomed to having every little detail planned out in our lives (as well as familiar and efficient societal systems for carrying out tasks) that anything that comes along with even the faintest HINT of not being in our realm of control sends us into a worried, over-analytical panic. 

Think about it.

After being accepted to teach abroad, we are smacked with a laundry list of things to do. Great! we think to ourselves, Instructions! So many delicious instructions!

But as we quickly continue to peruse the details of what we're supposed to do in the summer before jetting off to France with our perfectly packed suitcases, we are stumped by a gigantic list of conditions and stipulations.

"Wait, I should WAIT to buy a plane ticket until AFTER I make a visa appointment at my local consulate? But I can't make an appointment until I PHYSICALLY receive my work contract?? And my work contract should arrive *APPROXIMATELY* between June and July, but it's possible that it might arrive late in August? And I'll have to schedule my visa appointment about a MONTH in advance to ensure I get an appointment!?"

Oh, how the list of stipulations goes on and on, inevitably slipping away from our control like trying to hold liquid water in our tightly clasped hands.

nd this is exactly where we need to turn our attention to learning to relax.

We need to remember that everything will work out. 

We need to remember that life in France is not and will not become like life back home in the States or elsewhere. 

We need to be open and accepting of what this new experience will have to offer us in the whole scheme of things.

So let's agree on one thing.

...Okay. maybe a few things.

  • Even though preparations for moving abroad can be a big stressful pain in the ass, take everything with a grain of salt. Stay on top of your appointments and deadlines, and you should be FINE. Enjoy time with family and friends before your big departure later this year instead of stressing out about the uncontrol-ables.
  • The preparation for moving to France is only the tip of the bureaucratic iceberg. Once here, as you probably know well by now: getting settled in France is a big maze of paperwork, appointments, and mind-boggling confusion. So get ready for it! See above point on making sure you have things taken care of on your own end, etc.
  • As much as you'd like to get every single little detail of how life will be like after moving to France hammered and planned out, you really won't know how it will be for YOU until YOU'VE moved here! This is most especially for those who love picking the brains of past teachers. And what a beautiful thing social media is for connecting with anyone we wish! That being said, prepare and read blog posts and network in the Facebook groups, but don't feel like you're constantly searching for more, more, MORE! You'll never be 110% prepared, and that's the beauty of this experience.
  • Get comfortable with the waiting game in France. Things happen at a different pace here, and it's not "weird" or "stupid." It can be a really big lesson in learning to adapt to how other cultures go about their own everyday activities. I highly encourage an open mind, because it's downright disheartening to meet a fellow teaching assistant who has nothing else to say expect for "This never happens in America..." when we're out exploring a new French city.