06 April 2009


"Congratulations!  We are very pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the French Teaching Assistantship Program for the 2009-2010 academic year..."

When this popped up in my email today, that's as far as I read before my heart began turning joyful cartwheels in my chest. No, no there must be some mistake... these kind of things don't happen to me! But, as I continued to read, I learned that yes, indeed it was true! I've been accepted to the Académie of Nancy-Metz, in the northeast of France. I was trembling with joy, and had to close the door of my office so I could thank God, jump up and down, and attempt (in vain) muffle my excitement. I was literally screaming "THANK YOU! THANK YOU!" with my hands clamped over my mouth.

The excruciating five month wait was over! I had sent my application to the French embassy at the end of November, which was a nightmare of paperwork, essays written in French, recommendations from French teachers and professional references, medical certificate filled out by my doctor... everything that had to be just so, or I would risk being disqualified from consideration for the position. I knew that thousands of Americans were vying for the 1500 teaching positions throughout France, and that it was an extremely competitive program. Vividly, I remember the day I surrendered the precious package at the post office, how I returned to my car, put my head in my hands and prayed to God for this. Ever since my first class in French language at age 12, I have known that I have a special destiny with France, and have been trying to get there ever since.

Unsuccessful in my attempts to contain my delight in front of my coworkers, I was forced to run to the parking lot to phone my parents from the safety of my car. Although my frenzied shouting into the phone was difficult to understand, my parents were able to deduce that I had been accepted, and cheered loudly. They greeted me with a champagne toast when I arrived for dinner. Jim also greeted me with a gigantic hug, and told me how proud he is of me. His facial expression was so genuine, his eyes seemed to say "I'm going to miss you terribly while you're gone, but I am so thrilled that you're accomplishing your dream!" We went to Starbucks for drinks, and he could not stop beaming at me. This is so bittersweet. I'm beyond delighted that I'm going to France... but the separation from my boyfriend of six years is going to be very difficult for me. At the same time, I know I have nothing to worry about, since he is such a trustworthy, loyal, and supportive force in my life. I will fly home for Christmas, and he will visit me in the spring.

I wasn't expecting notification of acceptance for at least another month, and am absolutely thrilled to receive this early surprise. I still don't know what level I'll be teaching or the length of my contract... but I'm going to France! I'm really going to France.
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