As I prepare to begin my journey to Paris, I inevitably must answer the question why? I will focus on why I’ve decided to teach English in a later post, but for now I hope this excerpt from my application essay will answer why I’ve chosen France…
Sometimes English does not have the vocabulary to accurately describe a particular situation, and in this instance, we often borrow phrases from other languages. One particular phrase borrowed from French is joie de vivre. Literally translated, joie de vivre means joy of living. However, I think this French phrase means so much more than “joy of living” to Americans. Perhaps that is why we borrow the French term instead of using the easier to pronounce English version. Joie de vivre says something more about the individual than a carefree enjoyment of life. It implies that they live life as the French do. They work to live, not live to work. They spend time with friends and family: talking, eating, drinking wine. They do not rush from place to place, constantly looking for their next task. An American with the joy of living may still take his days too seriously. He may still multi-task four things at a time so he can “enjoy” his rushed dinner with friends at the end of his hectic day. However, an American who understands the joie de vivre will not. She will take time to enjoy her morning coffee. She will focus on one thing at a time, giving each task undivided attention. She will treat her friends and family with respect, giving them her complete consideration when spending quality time with them. And most importantly, she will make sure that each day is spent doing what she loves to do, never sacrificing her happiness for someone else. As Americans, it is so easy to get caught up as a regular joy of living person. However, I want to be a joie de vivre person and that’s why I’ve decided to teach English in the land of joie de vivre– France!
I started studying the French language and culture in high school. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful pronunciations, rolling right off the tongue je ne sais quois of this eloquent language. Likewise, I was immediately enthralled with the culture as well. I knew it was my dream to visit France at some point in my life. I finally realized this dream in December 2011, ten years after first falling in love with France. Visiting Paris for the first time was breathtaking. I could gaze at the classical architecture framing the Seine all day long. I could sit in a café savoring a delectable French pastry and listening to the romantic cadence of a French conversation for hours. As much as I love Paris, I know that France has a lot more to offer. I’m looking forward to visiting small towns and quaint villages throughout the countryside as well. I am not satisfied with a quick trip through France; I want to experience its beauty and tranquility as more than a tourist… as a local.
My number one passion at the moment is travel. It has always been my dream to travel abroad, and with my travels so far, I have quickly learned that being a tourist is not enough for me. I want to immerse myself into a culture and truly live like the locals do. I plan to see countries on every continent eventually, but right now I am focusing on Europe. I love the history, art, architecture, and languages that are found throughout Europe. It is convenient to hop on a train and arrive in a completely different culture within an hour. I find it ironic that my ancestors are from Europe, yet they could not wait to cross vast oceans into the new world. However, I crave going back to the old world. I desire to travel to the land where so much of history took place; where we can learn from the positive and negative events that have transpired over thousands of years. I want to quietly pray in a cathedral that has stood the test of time for a thousand years, where millions of people from all walks of life have sat in that exact spot and prayed to their God. I long to forget about American television and conveniences and instead be amazed with the quality of food and wine and architecture in France. I hope to live the French style of joie de vivre every single day. So for the next 10 weeks I will be keeping you updated on my journey!