In French you don't say "I miss you", you say "You I miss" (Tu me manque). It seems backwards at first, but it puts the emphasis on "the thing" or "person" that has left a whole in your being. There are so many people and things that have made an everlasting impression on my being and will be missing from me. What a blessing it was to be in Albertville France this past year. It will be a time remembered for the difficulty and struggle, but also the joy and friendship. So, here are the things that will be missing from me when I leave:
1) the people of France- while some say that the French are rude or snooty, I have not found this to be true. Every French person that I have been able to get to know has been kind, warm and has freely given of themselves. The evangelical Christians here are few in number compared to the states, but they have strong convictions and strong faiths!
2) the people at the language school- the professors here care so deeply for their students. At times they seem strict, but underneath is a strong desire for us to learn French well so that we can communicate and minister to those where we are headed. Many of them consider this their ministry. The students here have been such a blessing to me. Each one has such a unique story and are completely sold out for Jesus. It's like being in church every day with constant spiritual support and communion. I have made friends here that I am sure I will keep in contact with. I know I will see them all in heaven some day, but hoping we will have some earthly meetings too!
3) the mountains- What an amazing experience to get up every day, look out your window and see the French alps! My favorite activity here in France has been going for walks or long bike rides and just looking at the amazing scenery. Every season has it's own special beauty. I am sure the jungles of Africa will have their own special beauty, but the mountains are going to be missing from my soul!
4) the food- anyone who know me, knows I love to eat! So what have been some of my favorites here; first- the bread! Boy, do the French know how to do bread! Every day, at many locations in town, you can walk in and get fresh baked, absolutely delicious bread. second- the cheese. I have toured many of the cheese factories while here, and have found my most favorite- Beaufort! third- the fresh fruits and veggies. They are very seasonal and you are buying mostly things grown here. I've never seen heads of lettuce like they have here. They are humongous (is that a word?). Anyway, this is something that will definitely be missing from me in Africa where lettuce is not grown. :( 4th- the pastries- Oh my, words can't describe the yummies here!
5) the country- I have been able to do some traveling while here in France, and it is probably one of the most beautiful countries I have every visited. Pictures, of course, never do justice to the real thing. I have those "real" pictures in my head and will treasure them forever.
Just a quick not of what I will not miss:
1) sitting in French class 6 hours/day, and then studying most of the evening, and most of the weekends.
2) my tiny 300 square foot apartment, with my hot plate and toaster oven to cook in. Can't wait to bake and really cook again.
3) the laundry room here (enough said!)
Well, that's all for now. I get my test results on Thursday, and graduate on Friday, and fly home for a quick vacation on Saturday. Then it's off to Africa on the 31st. Hard to believe it is finally becoming a reality!