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La Belle Vie

The experience I have from living in France is something I have a really hard time describing without using a lot of “awesomes” and “fabulous” and even some “unreals.” It’s just unlike anything I have ever experienced and I am truly, truly enjoying it.

The thing is though, I didn’t always enjoy it. In fact, I used to hate it. I told my husband just this past summer that I wouldn’t go back. That I couldn’t go back. Thankfully I’m a total sucker for that man and I followed him once again. And oh my land am I thankful I did. I am also so incredibly thankful that the Lord directs my life, not me. Because of man, who knows where I would be right now if that was the case. Most likely not married to the best man I know and not living this extraordinary life in France.

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But it has obviously occurred to my that not everyone has chances like I have. Heck, I wouldn’t have had this chance either if it weren’t for my husband’s job. I This makes me even more appreciative of our situation here. It has also got me thinking, I hope that I can always live life this way. One of the things I love most about France is that the people enjoy themselves here. Like truly relax and enjoy themselves. It seems like Americans have missed that memo.

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Last night after my volleyball practice we all headed over to a friends house. It was almost 11 by the time we were finished with practice. I usually aim for bedtime at around 10:00 people, but I thought, heck – I’ll go with it. When in Rome, right?

It was amazing. There was wine, red & white, sweet & dry, lots of bread, meats, salami, cheese (of course!), oysters, pig intestines (super nasty if you were wondering), and yummy desserts that were mostly chocolate. The French love their chocolate. We all sat and talked and laughed and ate and drank until around 1:30 in the morning. And I want to mention not a single person was trashed. Not a single person was acting like an idiot because of alcohol. I feel like sometimes people think or feel they need to get sloshed to have fun or when there is alcohol someone needs to get wasted. We drank and drank and not a single person acted a fool. I just found that interesting and refreshing.

Now all these people had to work in the morning, mind you. They didn’t seem to care. They were enjoying life! So what they were a little tired on a Tuesday, they were having fun!

La belle vie.

Then I read this article about why the modern day woman is always tired. It says that our bodies are always ‘on’ and that we’ve forgotten how to relax. Now I know France is not a perfect country, there is no such thing. But I do feel like there are a few things we could learn from the French. Like to take a day off, for example. Turn off your phone for a day. Maybe get a little crazy and go somewhere with your family without your phone. *Gasp!* Take a day off work if you can afford to. Or a half a day. Drink some wine, have a beer in the middle of the day, stop and take a café with your friends. I promise, all those things will be worth it.

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Anyway, all these things have been on my mind lately and I thought I’d share. Some of you enjoy reading about my life here in France and if I can impart some lovely French lifestyle habits on some over worked, over tired Americans, then I would be happy! (not that everyone is over worked & tired! Maybe just some.) I want to encourage people to enjoy life, right where you are, whatever your situation. Embrace it and see the beauty in where you’re at. You don’t have to be somewhere fabulous, just wherever you are. We have this amazing gift of life with so many things to experience! Enjoy it!

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These outfit pictures have absolutely nothing to do with this post. Just wanted pictures to go with it!

13 Responses to La Belle Vie

  1. Sheila December 17, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Your writing is very warm & heart felt today Natalia, and your message comes across loud & clear, life is short…sing, dance, laugh, love, enjoy every single day & be thankful for all of our blessings…amen sister!

    • Natalia December 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Thank you, Sheila! Although I do understand some people are going through some hard things right now, but it’s important to do our best to try to embrace our lives and enjoy what we do have!

  2. Kim Adams Morgan December 18, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    LOVE the leggings and to following where the Lord takes you. Even if it is fellowship at 11PM with friends with a little wine. Life is not about work, it is about relationships. You are right, Americans did miss that memo. Amen to connecting with family and friends and unplugging.

    Merry Christmas, Natalia!

    • Natalia December 18, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      Thank you! And yes, it’s tough sometimes, we all get caught up! That’s why it’s great to be refreshed every once in a while!

  3. Callie December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Interesting thoughts on forgetting to relax. I find myself doing that a lot. 😉 Love your leggings – they’re so bright and fun colored!!

    • Natalia December 18, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      Thank you! They’re fun! And I think we all forget to relax from time to time, it’s good to be reminded!

  4. Corinne December 18, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I love the leggings!

    Why didn’t you like living in France before? I lived there for a year (in Lorraine, near Nancy/Metz) and it was certainly a mixture of ups and downs! Especially as I moved there completely on my own.

    Corinne x

    • Natalia December 21, 2013 at 3:00 am #

      Honestly it was a mix of things each time. It wasn’t ever France, I love France. Like one year we lived too far removed to walk anywhere and with one car. So when my husband was at practice 2 times a day for a little over 2 hours each time I was stuck at home. Then there was a ton of snow which locked us in as well. WHen I can’t get out and get involved in the culture and make it feel like my own, it’s tough on me! Those are the main reasons as I’m seeing now this year I am involved more, doing my own thing & I love it!

  5. Whitney December 21, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    Totally agree that Americans need to learn to work less and enjoy life more – after living with a variety of Westerners the past few years (Aussies, Brits, etc.), that’s one thing I’ve learned. I’m interested to know what made you hate France before? The culture or just living away from the familiar? I can really sympathize with that – it can be so hard to live in a place drastically different than what you’re used to, where you feel clueless about social stuff and expectations and language – aahh! But it’s an opportunity for growth and character building, right? Love hearing about your expat experience!

    • Natalia December 21, 2013 at 2:52 am #

      It was a combination or quite a few things actually that have seem to just come together this year. One of the years we lived in a house on a hill with one car and it snowed a lot. So when my husband was at practice, two times a day for a little over 2 hours each time, I was stuck at home. It’s never really been the culture here, I absolutely love that part, or missing family home, I love them but my little family is here with me. It’s been when I haven’t had opportunities to get involved. If I don’t feel like a place is my own, like I don’t have things to do I’m just tagging along in my husband’s life it makes it so hard for me. It’s never been him, he tries to help me, but some years there just haven’t been opportunities or I’ve had a little kid at home. This is the first year both my kids are in school and I’ve been able to do some things for me. I’m also speaking French better, so that helps! Because when you don’t speak and language and feel lost, I don’t know know if there’s anything worse! I hate that!!

      • Whitney December 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

        Oh man, the “trailing spouse” syndrome – I know it too well! It can be SO hard to find your feet, especially when your husband has a job and a community set up for him. And language really is a window into another world – without it, we’re just observers and can’t connect with the people around us. It’s so interesting how similar expat lives can be, regardless of whether you live in Cambodia or France!

        • Natalia December 30, 2013 at 11:56 am #

          It’s so true! This year is the first year I’m able to get out and do more. As you probably know, there are so many factors that go into the experience and it wasn’t always negative. But I am so thankful that this year I feel more at home than ever. I just read your story and how you got to Cambodia, so cool!! I really love connecting with people in similar situations!

          • Whitney December 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

            Hey thanks for checking out the blog! We expats have to stick together – we’re a strange bunch when we go back home. 🙂 Cambodia will never feel like 100% home, for sure, but things do seem more “normal” the longer we stay here. I’m kinda having a reversal in life, because I’m 7 months pregnant, and can’t ride my motorcycle around town. There’s no public transportation here in town, and I have to wait on my husband or other friends to give me a ride when they’re not working or busy. The city is not walker-friendly. It’s a bit difficult, but I’m glad I’ve been here a while already – it would be really difficult if I had just moved here!

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