My Year Abroad Diary: A Catchup Diary

Hello there you! Long time no see, eh? I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last published a blog post. It’s been 4 weeks… 4 WEEKS?! How on earth does time pass by so quickly I wonder? Life has been crazy and strange, and nothing like I expected it to be. Over the past few weeks I’ve really learnt what it means to say “The Joy of the Lord is my strength” and really mean it.

Work has been really busy with mail outs and I’ve actually really loved doing that. I’m even getting to the point where I go to the post office and I’ve got the french postal system so down that the slightly extremely grumpy lady who works there doesn’t get mad at me which is a miracle in its self. Trust me, french may be the language of love but it doesn’t sound very nice when it’s angry!

I’ve also spent a lot of time hanging out with some pretty cool people from church. It’s making me realise all over again how important church family is and should be to me. I’m so overwhelmed sometimes by how great it is to be surrounded by people who ask continually “well have you prayed about it?” and thank God openly for every great thing in their lives. Plus y’know, yay for friends. Friends make everything better.

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Don’t ask me what I’m doing. I’m just a very awkward person 🙈

I also got to go home for the weekend to see my family who I miss a lot. Whilst I was there my sister got baptised which was great to see!

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Action shot 📸

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I think Dad made a joke…

This week I went to housegroup as usual, had Fatou over for dinner one night and went to Fatou’s for dinner another night. It’s been really lovely to be so busy and I’m also really grateful to Fatou for being such a lovely friend.

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Chef extraordinaire 👌🏽

This weekend I also got to go for lunch with my friend from Switzerland, Coralie who was visiting people in the area. It was so nice to see her again, and to have the chance to show someone around my current home!

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Told you I’m awkward! 😂

I guess that’s all I really want to say honestly. Please pray that God would continue to show me how to delight in Him and find peace during difficult times (and also thank him for what he’s done already). I would also really appreciate prayer for my essays as work for those is pretty full on at the moment!

Alors, à la prochaine,

Abi xx

My Year Abroad Diary: Lots of Food

Bonjour everyone!

How’re you all? I hope you’ve had some lovely sunshine to enjoy! It’s definitely true that everything looks nicer on a sunny day. I’m actually writing this sat out on the terrace WITHOUT A JACKET. Absolute madness I tell you.

I’ve had a lovely week. I worked during the week as usual, but this week was a bit different as there was a bank holiday on Thursday for ascension. Ascension celebrates the day that Jesus rose to heaven after he came back to life. I find it quite strange that despite France being very laïc (state and church are completely separate – there is no national religion in order to aid freedom of religious beliefs), they have a day off to celebrate a religious day. I guess any excuse, right?

In my last post I mentioned that it was my housemates birthday, well she decided to take the opportunity of the bank holiday to have a bit of a belated celebration. We had guests over for a long lunch (nearly 6 hours long!) and ate lots of different things, but of course my favourite was the cake. We made 3 and they’re all delicious – I might write a blog post about one of them soon they were that good! It was a really fun celebration, the people there were all from church and as we ate we shared stories of what God has done in our lives. It was so encouraging to hear people’s stories and I felt that it taught me a lot about the differences between being a christian in France and being a christian in England.

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I know that’s not cake, but it looks pretty good

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yum.

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This baked cheesecake was so easy to make!

Friday again I worked but I also went out for a bit of “girl time” with Grace, who’s parents I work with. We went to Subway, then wandered around some shops. We even went into Claire’s accessories which was my favourite shop when I was Grace’s age which was a fun throwback for me. They had a whole bunch of those “lip smackers” and I was so tempted to buy one for memories’ sake! We finished off by going to a little sweet shop in town for pick and mix.

In the early evening I had literacy class. Last week one of the women brought some incredible turkish coffee, so I brought some british tea with some shortbread. I really love getting to share my culture with them and finding out about theirs. I’ve always loved learning about other people and other cultures so this literacy class is honestly one of the coolest things I’ve done.

In the evening I went to my friend Fatou’s house for dinner and a movie. Fatou’s been away for the past few weeks so it’s so great to have her back in Besançon! There were quite a few of us and it was a really fun evening.

Saturday I slogged away all day at my uni work, but in the evening a bunch of us went to Vincent’s house for a barbecue to “profiter” from the lovely sunny weather we were having. We ate, chatted and played games outside on the terrace as it was such a warm evening. One of the most incredible things I realised there was that I now can not only follow conversations, but follow them easily enough that I’ve started to be able to join in. I feel like my french has improved more quickly than I ever thought possible – thank you to God for that, it’s definitely not because of me!

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Sorry for taking your photo Vincent…

To round off the week, today I went to church in the morning before eating hot dogs outside with the other student-aged people. I feel like a parrot, but I feel so blessed by the church here!

Prayer points for the week would be just the same as before I think… thanking Him for everything here, and asking him for more language learning (can never have to much, eh?), and asking Him for the strength to keep going even when I want to be at home supporting the people that I love.

Till the next time,

Abi xx

 

 

My Year Abroad Diary: Rencontre de Jeunesse

Hey there,

Somehow I’m actually a third of the way through my time in France which feels really crazy to me. When I started off my year abroad in Belgium last June a year of living abroad seemed like forever but it’s passed so quickly that before I know it I’ll be back in the UK for my final year of uni. It’s now been 2 weeks since I wrote, mostly because not a huge amount has happened if I’m honest. That’s not particularly a bad thing though, living abroad is always going to be to some level just living life. I really enjoyed the first week because it just felt really happy and chilled even though I worked really hard! Instead of house group this week there was an event at church which was really encouraging. I have been so encouraged during my time in France by being surrounded by church family, it is such a blessing to me.

Before I knew it it was Friday and I was off to Switzerland for the “Rencontre de Jeunesse”; a Christian worship event aimed at teenagers and young adults. It took place in a small town called Bulle (aka Bubble in English – I find that slightly too funny!) in a venue that held 3,000 young people. I travelled up to Bulle with Abigail and Didier, and we got there early so I have a few pictures of Bulle to share with you. It’s a cute place to visit but there really is nothing there  – except a large shopping centre where I found my second favourite tea from Germany – Blueberry Muffin Flavour!

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I absolutely love the alps!

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I know you can find flowers anywhere, but these ones made me smile!

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I find churches to look at, they differ a lot from country to country!

It was a crazy weekend of talking to people, worshipping and eating so much junk food that my body was pretty much screaming for vitamins at the end. It reminded me of the summers I spent at soul survivor as a teenager (man, saying that ages me!) and brought back some fab memories.

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#RJBulle16

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A cheesy car selfie as we went off to the event!

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Tired, but happy after a crazy weekend! (p.s. I told you I ate a lot of junk food!)

Then it was back to normal working life the next week. I went to house group on Tuesday evening, but I also spent other evenings skyping friends, family and people from my lovely church in Sheffield. It means the world to me that I feel supported even with a rather large channel dividing me from them.

Finally at the weekend I celebrated my housemates birthday with lots of food, I went to a worship evening at church and then went to church on Sunday and ate lunch with some friends afterwards.

I feel almost like this blog post has been pointless as I really don’t have much to share with you, but I thought I would write a little update anyway. Thank you to those who pray for me, I would love it if you could pray for my morale. I really LOVE being in France and don’t want to go home at all, but I’m struggling with the fact that I want to be there for the people I love when they go through hard times.

Lots of love,

Abi xx