It was only a year ago that the idea of studying abroad was introduced to me, and, at the time, it seemed like an impossibility. I mean, who in their right mind would travel half way around the world with a toddler…for a year?!!
Well, apparently I would. I began the process by just talking to one of the Study Abroad councilors to see if it was even possible to do with a child. That was the first step and it was encouraging. Not only did they say it was possible, they applauded the boldness it would take to even consider such a thing. You see my daughter is 4 (she’ll be 5 in three weeks) but she has a heart for adventure and a personality suited for change. So they encouraged me, pushed me to keep going, and even went the extra mile by making phone calls and sending emails to their contacts in France. They wanted me to succeed in this and were determined to make it happen.
Over the last year, I took each situation a step at a time, sometimes having to step out in faith with no guarantee of success along the way and that was terrifying. Such as applying to the study abroad program with no guarantee I could get my daughter into school there. Or buying plane tickets without having visas… I mean those are BIG steps that require a lot of faith to take when you aren’t even sure about if you can even go if you will even be allowed to go. But each “obstacle” came and went with surprising ease and I came to realize that this was really happening.
The real task was the visas. I needed one and so did my daughter. I had to physically go to Los Angeles to apply and I had to make sure all the paperwork was in order….and it was A LOT of paperwork. I planned a short 24-hour trip and on the 13th of July, I made that trip. Three weeks later, this last Monday, I finally received the visas and that was the last brick to fall into place. Now comes the packing and cleaning which I have put off until now. I am sitting in my apartment with a mountain of packing and cleaning to do and only 2 weeks to get it done.
Evangeline and I sat in Chick-fil-a last night and had a serious discussion about the things she could bring with her. Only a toy or two and a handful of her favorite stuffed animals. She was oddly okay with that as she listed the things she wanted to bring. Although she is not fully aware of what is going on, she is smart enough to realize that things are about to change dramatically for the two of us. I love her spirit and I am grateful to have a little girl as willing as she is to take on any challenge in front of her.
The countdown has begun… wish us luck as we embark on the adventure of a lifetime. I will be updating this blog as frequently as I can with pictures, videos, and as many stories as I can manage, as I am sure I will have several. The progression of Evangeline’s French will be amazing to witness and I can’t wait to share it with you all.