10. Work to live, don't live to work. The French work to pay the bills, but they prefer to spend their valuable time with FRIENDS and FAMILY. Work is not the center of the universe... relationships are.
9. STOP RUSHING!!!! Americans are always in a hurry.... to be here, do this, do that... The French relax. They take their time. The best evidence of this is during meals. Waiters are not pressuring you to leave so they can turn your table. They are enjoyed rather than rushed through.
8. Eating In. I am not sure this is typically "French" or just where we live in the countryside, but we do not eat out. Like... ever. Maybe 2 times per month (You think I am kidding...) In Dallas, we were eating out about 5 times at least PER WEEK. Think of how much money we will save if we can continue this habit in the states!
7. Healthier living. In our area of France we do not have "Fast Food." The nearest McDonald's is a 30 minute drive away. I have broken the habit of Chick-fil-A and Wendy's because it wasn't available and I would love to keep that to a minimum once we get back. The convenience, price, and speed of it all makes it tempting, but see #9 above. Why are we in a hurry all the time?
6. Simplicity. We also do not have a mall in our area. With the exception of 2 boutiques in town, we don't really even have shopping here. If you think about it... We don't NEED a lot of extra STUFF. I loved purging before we moved to France and while we were over here I didn't even wear 1/2 of the clothes I brought over! We really don't NEED that much. I hope I can remember this when I spot "Target" in the distance... :)
5. Hosting people. I have always loved planning parties and supper clubs, but have never felt confident cooking for a group of people. After my experience in the kitchen here at The Colorado, I have much less anxiety cooking for a crowd.
4. Beauty. Don't take beauty for granted. Our drive to the grocery store is lined with tall pine trees and snow-capped mountains in the distance. I told Logan after we got here that I hoped I'd never grow numb to the beauty that surrounds us here in the French countryside. I think I am going to miss it, but I will make a point to find and recognize beauty that surrounds me wherever I am.
3. Respecting cultures. It is GOOD to get out of your comfort zone. I have cherished meeting people and making friends who have different beliefs than I do. It challenges me in my faith and makes me search for answers to tough questions as well. I love that I got out of the "Bible Belt" and "Christian Bubble" for a few years. It made my faith more real... one that I chose rather than what was convenient and expected of me.
2. Family time. In Dallas, Logan and I had plans almost every single night of the week. Although I don't like NEVER having plans, I do appreciate "down" time where he and I can just be together. Now that we have Stella, its so nice to just spend time together, put her to bed, and then just watch a movie and unwind. I am going to need "nights in" to help balance out a packed social schedule.
1. Gratitude. In addition to having numerous amazing experiences over here, we have had seasons of difficulty as well. France was not a fairytale... but nothing in life really is. We have been through highs and lows and in each place we made a decision to try to be present. Be here. Be grateful. Be okay with where we are instead of living in the past or living for the future. Lonely days made me appreciate my friendships and family more than ever. Losing our first baby(ies) made me love Stella with an even deeper love.
Overall these have been a WONDERFUL 2 years. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I have grown, learn, & changed so much. I am truly coming back a new woman and a Mom! Would I do it again? Absolutely! We have ZERO regrets moving over here but we also know that without a doubt it is time for us to come back home to Texas. I have bittersweet feelings about this season coming to a close, but I am so hopeful and excited about what the future has in store!