Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In another life

This past weekend, I was driving around Minneapolis running errands, and I felt so blessed to be back in a city full of so many happy memories.  But all of the sudden, while exiting off of I94, I had this sudden flash of what my life would have been like had I never moved to France.  Like I had spent the past ten years in the Twin Cities and life was great.  It only lasted an instant, but it was so realistic, looking at myself in an alternate university where I decided not to follow Fab back to his homeland.  It was almost ironic because that was a question I asked myself a million times during my early years in France - would I be happier in the US without Fab?  Or was it worth it to be unhappy in France but in love?

Maybe all of this was brought up by a recent assignment for my masters program.  We had to write a "portrait" of a classmate, as a way to give us practice writing executive biographies.  I paired up with a girl I have become quite close with, and we met up for lunch a few weeks ago at La Defense to exchange life stories. 

It's actually an interesting exercise - 1) taking a look back at everything that brought you to where you are today and then 2) seeing how it is perceived by others.  It was pretty wild trace the chain of events that led to me living in France, of all places.  And really, how often do you sit down and reflect about each of the key events that shaped your life? 

The first one for me was the time I spent in Finland - it really opened my eyes to other cultures and non-US viewpoints.  So much so that when I came back to the US, I sought out other foreigners in order to keep that connection, and that is how I met Fab. As we all know, that's how I ended up in France.  Had I not lived in Bretagne, I would never have heard about The Company, and then I wouldn't have had the chance to travel the world like I have.  And then of course there is the moment where I had to decide whether or not to stay in France or move back to the US (and the subsequent move to Paris, where I met C).

But it's crazy to think that I wouldn't be where I am today had I made a different decision at any one of those stages.  I mean, sometimes you are conscious of that you are the middle of making a life-changing a decision but other times they just kind of sneak by unnoticed, and you only realize much later that it was a total game changer....


Blogger Megan said...

Yes, it is amazîg the chain of events that gets any of us to a certain point in life. If something happened to my husband, i am not sure i would stay in france.

October 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Bee Ean said...

Every time I go back to Malaysia, I look at my friends and I would tell myself that I would be living their lives if I had not choose to leave my country.

October 15, 2013 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Lil said...

Currently, standing at a crossroad myself, it's hard not to look back and wonder along the lines of "could have, would have, should have" but then I realised, many a moment, I was just trying to make the most out of what I have. For all those little decisions, I am where I am today, and I hope my next leap won't steer me off a cliff! ;)

Scary kind of excitement...

October 16, 2013 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Sara Louise said...

Exactly! Every decision we make takes us down a different path, little paths and big ones, either way, they all get us to exactly where we're supposed to be :)

October 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger shannon said...

I think about that all the time. What if I didn't get an assistantship that very first year (I was waitlisted after all)? What if I went home after that first year? What if I actually finished my Masters at Middlebury in Paris instead of coming back to the North to teach English? What if I decided not to start a Masters?

Sitting here on the couch with my boyfriend and our dog, I'm so glad that I made the decisions I made.

October 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely understand! If it wasn't for some random conversation back in january 2012, we probably would never have the guts to emigrate to Australia.

October 17, 2013 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Edna said...

What a great assignment! I think about those 'what if' moments all the time (probably far too much) -- what if I'd never gone to China? or Singapore? or volunteered that one time? or answered that apartment ad? or stayed in Australia? or left Paris early? So much I would have missed out on, it's crazy where the forks in our roads lead us.

October 21, 2013 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

If you realized it at the time you would be so stricken by the weight of such lofty decisions that you might not be able to make any. At least I wouldn't. I am so glad for my reckless naivete that I try to cultivate it still now :)

October 28, 2013 at 2:01 PM  

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