Ok, so admittedly, I’ve been a bad pen pal, BUT… I did keep a journal during most of the five weeks.
Here are some of the cool things that I got to do during my solo summer:
- Went rafting on a river for the first time
- Jumped into a very chilly river from a high foothold
- Watched a fireworks display over a lake with friends
- Cycled nearly everywhere I needed to go, including 10 km roundtrip to a friend’s house
- Went to the movies and out on several hikes
- Ate dinner at French friends’ homes
- Explored a rural bike path solo
- Got a bangs!
- Went on a trip to Toulouse
- Prepared a nice dinner for a friend at home
- Watched the movie version of a play by the French equivalent of Shakespeare (with help from a cultured friend)
- Enjoyed a day at the beach in Biarritz
- Had a successful picnic in the park without utensils or plates, hahaha
- And, yes, I did actually go to the gym! (and more than once or twice ^^)
My French friends would always ask me if I was bored, and I would kind of laugh and say, “No, I’m definitely not ever bored.” The hardest thing was feeling lonely and sleeping well at night with all of the settling noises and creaks in the house, which made me feel vulnerable and worried about my safety.
I missed my husband a lot, and the toughest day was his birthday, which was right around the half-way point in my time on my own. It was also a time when I was really frustrated about a big project I had been working on for our business (teaching English to French locals).
However, once I made it past the half-way mark of two and a half weeks, it got a lot easier.
Some weeks I got to spend a lot of time with friends, and other weeks I got a lot done on my own for our business and made sure to get out regularly.
Dealing with the challenges of being in charge of the business, handling any paperwork, dealing with our French service providers (don’t get me started on how tough it was to change from one cell phone company to another :P) and running the house on my own for five weeks did a lot to increase my confidence and self-reliance.
Two days ago, I went out with my husband’s parents, who are experienced cyclists, and we rode 25 km round-trip on a cycling path that starts in Lourdes called La Voie Verte. This is easily the farthest and longest bike ride I’ve ever attempted, much less completed, AND it was about 88 degrees (31 C) and sunny, which made it all the more challenging from someone who usually chooses the shade over the beach 😉
I did need about 1.5 liters of water during the journey and had use my tricks o’ the trade to stave off a migraine afterward, but my body really handled it like a champ. My legs were not sore the next day, and neither was my rump, hahaha.
Before my summer adventures, there’s no way I would have said yes to going cycling for a straight two hours in the heat, especially since I knew we were going to prepare a surprise party complete with apero, cocktails, two pizzas, and a dessert for a total of eight dinner guests directly afterward.
But with a brief rest and cold shower (and the help of my in-laws), we were able to pull it off and keep my husband from figuring out the surprise 😀