© 2008, Ryan James
Four years ago today, I left the US with a one-way ticket on Air France flight 039, 130 pounds of luggage in tow, a student visa in my passport, a heart full of love, and a head full of big dreams. So much has happened since that summer afternoon, and the last year of my life in France has witnessed some of the biggest changes so far. When I left for France, I was a student; now I’m a teacher. When I left for France, my husband Michel and I were married in Washington, but not in France; now, we have a little red “livret de famille” to show we’re officially a family here.
Through it all, I’ve had the love and support of so many: my friends on both sides of the Atlantic, old ones and new ones; my French family who brought me into their fold as one of their own; my family in America, my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and especially my mother and father who have dealt with long distance and separation with nothing but encouragement and reassurance; and, of course, the love of my life: that cute little singer-dancer-artist-dreamer who never expected a high-strung American lawyer might one day cross his path, steal his heart, and move into his little apartment in La Courneuve. We haven’t always had the easiest time making things work, but we’ve had some magic moments together and I know we have many more ahead …
So, here’s to four years of life in France … and to whatever the next year might bring us …
“La Valse d’Amélie,” from Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amélie)
In the immortal words of Monsieur Dufayel …
“La chance, c’est comme le Tour de France.
On l’attend longtemps et ça passe vite.
Quand le moment vient, faut sauter la barrière sans hésiter.”
“Luck is like the Tour de France.
You wait for it for a long time, and it passes quickly.
When the moment comes, you have to jump the barricade without hesitating.”
On my first anniversary as an expat in France: “The Patience of a Butterfly,” where I recounted the beautiful story of what led me to this country in the first place
On my second anniversary: “Every Beginning is Only a Sequel,” where I waxed rather philosophical about change as the very essence of life
On my third anniversary: “525,600 minutes,” where I recapped an amazing year in photos
© 2014 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved