Present and Thankful

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I know that Thanksgiving was last week, and most of you are probably onto Christmas (the amount of gift-guides in my Bloglovin' and Facebook feeds right now is insane). But I've been stuck in the Thanksgiving frame of mind for a bit.

Full disclosure: I admire bloggers who share their whole story. Whenever I ask for advice from other bloggers, I get the same advice over and over again: be authentic. To me, that means the authentic good, and the authentic-not-so-good. So here I go, I'm being authentic.

I've been having a rough few weeks. Nothing bad per se, just general not-greatness. You're probably saying to yourself: Zoe, you're in Freaking France... be happy! I've told myself that many times. There are probably quite a few factors that are contributing to my not-so-greatness, including being homesick, the premature departure of a friend, the fact that I missed Thanksgiving at home, and a lot of cultural differences, especially surrounding school. So I did what any self-respecting, semi-independent 21 year old would do. I called my parents.

My friends and I in France had a "France-Giving." It was wonderful.
I talk to them frequently, but it was really nice to talk to them when I was feeling down. I haven't really had the proverbial culture-shock plunge as bad this semester, apart from an initial adjustment, but that wasn't even that bad. I think I really hit my low this week. Anyways, while talking to them, my mom suggested that I think about everything I'm thankful for. Sometimes, when I sink into depression, I forget to to be grateful for all that is good, and instead I focus on all the things I'm upset about. I know it's not a cure, but sometimes it can help me refocus my thoughts, calm down, and reframe my energy.

After talking to them, I did what I do best. I made a list of everything I'm thankful for, and I'm sharing (some of) it with you:
  • Coffee. Always. Even from McDonald's.
  • Mariage Frères Tea. Sakura is my jam.
  • The nice lady who works at Memoranda (we call her Memzie).
  • Finding awesome friends in France who let me rant, geek out, and just be myself. They also understand the importance of great office supplies (#fountainpensociety).
  • Traveling, and finally being able to fully experience places I've dreamed about visiting. 
  • Learning how to function in another culture. Learning how to speak another language. Learning how to let go of control. Learning how to love myself again.
  • Amazing friends at home who write letters, send postcards, and FaceTime with me while I attempt to make a cranberry upside-down cake. 
  • Rediscovering my creativity. I've refused to consider myself creative for the longest time. But being here, I've found a great sense of inspiration, and have reconnected to the creative parts of my soul that I've buried for so long. 
  • France, obviously. A bad day in this place is better than a good day anywhere else. My life has been fully enriched by this experience, and I've grown and changed in ways I can't even describe yet. I'm so grateful to have been able to spend the time I have here. 
  • My parents. They are my rock, my support system, my best friends. They have always encouraged my dreams and supported my goals, even if they didn't always understand them. I love them more than anything, and I can never express how much they mean to me. I love you, girlfriend and big guy. 
What are you thankful for? 

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