I am writing this as I just left the Franc de Ferriere family and am on my last train ride of this trip back to Toulouse. I am reflecting on how I felt just a month ago when I was on a train going the opposite way heading to live and work in what I saw as a great unknown. I was nervous and excited and preparing myself mentally for any situation. I am happy to report that I don’t think I could have had a better family to take me in! The Franc de Ferriere family is more than amazing and invited me right into their life. It took no time at all to fall into the life and really become part of the family. I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity and I would not change it for anything. I am eternally grateful for the hospitality, acceptance, and love I was shown and all the opportunities I was given by living with them.
This month has really taught me so much about life and about myself. I was challenged and put out of my comfort zone so many times and each and every time I felt myself grow. I came to know and experience the beautiful French culture as well as given the chance to dive into the wine culture. I put blood and sweat (literally) into work that I never would have done outside of this experience and I am better for it. I met so many people from all over the world and each conversation brought something new to my life. I felt the love of a family and felt at home even when I was half way around the world from my real family.
Wilfred, Jacquie, Pierre, and Louisa: Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for taking me in this month and making me part of the family. Thank you for introducing me to family and friends from all over the world. Thank you for sharing the most beautiful Chateau in the whole world with me. Thank you for listening to me talk about my love for peanut butter and bananas. Thank you for the food and the desserts and the wine and more desserts! Thank you for teaching me to like (almost black) coffee and having so many fun foods for me to try. Thank you for letting me nap every day after lunch. Thank you for giving me so many opportunities to do things I never thought I would do. Thank you for trying to teach me some French and German even when I could barely remember any of it. (Also, can you tell Dominique I say thank you for the lovely French lessons during work as well… I couldn’t really find a way to tell him the last time I saw him) There are so many more things about your family to be thankful for and I don’t think I could ever write them all. Thank you most of all for welcoming me in and teaching some of the biggest life lessons I have learned thus far. You guys and my time with you has had such an impact on me and I know I have become a much better person thanks to my time with you. You have all taught me more than you could even imagine and I will always treasure this time I have had with you! I cannot wait to see you all again either at your place or when you come visit Cincinnati!