“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 9:1
There is no doubt that this year abroad is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I walk through the town’s bus station perhaps 15-20 times per week, and often wonder just how far away I can get. I am quite lonely; there are a few people I speak to every now and then on my floor, but it’s not the most conducive environment for developing friendships. I don’t tend to speak to others in class either – despite taking some first-year modules people already seem to be in friendship groups. But there have been little things that keep me going.
I did speak to someone in one of my modules. I’m a little ashamed to say that I didn’t recognise her at first, but then realised that we’d spoken a bit before when one of the classes was cancelled. It was reassuring that she recognised me though; it made me feel like I wasn’t just invisibly floating through uni life. In another module, I managed to speak to another Erasmus student before the class.
I’ve also managed to walk through the bus station without the urge to escape at least 7 times now. Although there was another time this week when it was all I could do not to break down in tears.
Another maybe not-quite-so-little thing: My window faces west. Directly across the road from my window is another 5-storey building, which is not so nice. But being on the top floor I can see beyond that building. In the distance is a gorgeous park (which I’m lucky enough to walk through on the way to Church), some nicer buildings, and that’s it. And I have a pretty much uninterrupted view of the sunset. And being in the south of France it’s amazing weather and the sunsets are absolutely beautiful. And each day it’s a stunning 5-minute reminder of God’s amazing creation. I’m very lucky to be in a beautiful part of the world but this just tops it all off.
And last but not least, I am so incredibly lucky to have found a Church, and a Church family. To be involved in the GBU. To get involved in the life of the Church (they’re setting up a choir which I’m going to get involved in!) and to even be invited to join a house group. I’m looking forward to the first one. It’s been nice to at least recognise the tunes for a number of the songs we’ve done (especially the songs aimed at children…). It’s definitely been strange but the Church is already becoming a highlight of my time here.
All these little (and not-so-little) things are a reminder:
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100:4-5
“Avancez par ses portes avec reconnaissance!
Entrez dans ses parvis en chantant ses louanges!
Rendez-lui votre hommage bénissez-le.
Car l’Eternel est bon, car son amour dure à toujours
et sa fidélité s’étendra d’âge en âge.” – Psaume 100:4-5