Wednesday, October 29, 2014

my french country internship

hello again, world. it’s been a while, so i thought this was as good a time as any to give you a little update on my goings-on! for those of you who don’t know, i’m back in france. at this point, i don’t think anyone can really be surprised… it seems to happen pretty often these days. but how did i get here, you ask? well, it’s a fun story!

back in may, when i got home from my last stint of working in france and traveling in europe, i didn’t have much of a plan. (shocker, right?) i knew that i had a friend from france coming to visit me in nashville at the end of the summer, so i was hesitant to find a “big girl job” that would take away from my ability to spend time with her. apparently, normal jobs don’t give you two weeks of paid vacation… weird. plus, i still thought i was going to be taking a big road trip before  her arrival… so really, i had no true motivation to get my career going. instead, i lived at home and pieced together an income throughout the summer, working as an assistant coach for my neighborhood swim team (the same one i was on for 14 summers!), tutoring french, and dogsitting. it was fun and relaxing – exactly what i needed the summer to be, in order to avoid the reentry shock that i suffered last time around. as the summer drew on, certain plans formed and other plans fell through… the roadtrip ended up getting postponed for another time, and my friend mathilde came for two weeks. i flew up to meet her in new york city, taking advantage of her flight route to spend a few days touring around with her. we came back to franklin and enjoyed a week of fun, southern adventuring and relaxation together. i got to bring her down to my friend liz’s lake house, which was fabulous, and we had a couple good days in nashville as well.

all throughout the summer, mathilde’s departure was my mental d-day – i was allowed to lay low and not think about the future until after she left. it seemed so far away during the months of june and july, but finally, the week was upon me… her departure was set for august 20th. i could feel the pressure mounting as my mantra of priorities – “car, job, house” – started to get louder and louder. and then, everything got crazy. on the 17th, my mom sent me a link to a blog  that she had been following for some time called ‘my french country home.’ the author of the blog, sharon, was looking for someone to help her through a hectic few months – a sort of unofficial fall internship. the ideal candidate: young(ish) with few attachments and responsibilities (i.e. able to pick up and leave); be willing to live in the french countryside for a few months; have a love for all things french, antique, travel, writing; be interested in learning about publishing, blogging, travel planning. as i read the post, i couldn’t help but feel like it would be foolish not to at least send an email. what could it hurt? so, i spent an hour drafting up a message that introduced me, explained a little about my history, and gave a few reasons why i would like to be chosen as the intern. i sent it late sunday night. by wednesday, i had a response that detailed the job a little more and requested a conversation on skype if i was still interested. on friday, i skyped with sharon for about half an hour and we hit it off really well – she told me she would decide within the week and let me know. the following friday, i was offered the job, and i bought my tickets on sunday. so, within the span of two weeks, i learned about, applied for, interviewed for, accepted, and bought tickets for an 8 week internship in normandy! definitely the fastest one of my europe trips has ever come together. :)

i had two weeks to get everything sorted before leaving on the 14th of september. when i arrived, sharon picked me up from the airport and brought me back to her beautiful home, located in normandy, to the west of paris. it’s a beautiful area of the country, with rolling hills and winding rivers. i have been staying in the guest cottage, which is exactly as charming as you’re imagining. her husband and son are both incredibly nice and there are two dogs, gibson and ghetto, whom i adore. my job has been great – lots of variety and fun excursions. i’ve done everything from assisting at glamorous photo shoots and helping facilitate group tours to carrying out the everyday, behind-the-scenes maintenance of the blog. it’s been a dream to see some of the places i’ve gotten to visit – glitzy parisian hotels, charming 17th century homes, huge antique fairs, and quaint village squares, just to name a few. learning about the blogiverse has been interesting as well – the amount of work it takes would genuinely astound you. if you would like to see photos from my time here in normandy, check out this album or my instagram.

i actually just got back from visiting a friend in sweden, but that’s a story for a different post. :) this internship has flown by – it’s my sixth week of work already, and i only have two more after this one! once i leave here, i’ll have two weeks of travels before heading home at the end of november. then, the winter, with more adventures already on the books. i truly am living the dream, y’all. i can't believe my life sometimes. cheers to the uncertainty, flexibility, adventure, and joy that being 23 offers!

a portrait of the author, laughing in the face of conventional employment - honfleur, france - september 2014

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