Bon Voyage, ma Fille!

My 19 year-old daughter is heading to France for a semester abroad. She will be staying in someone’s home and learning to speak French while she continues her pre-medical studies (fortunately conducted in English). She has a full course load planned- mostly in sciences and research, as well as a French language course. She has been busily preparing for this all summer. While she has been previewing organic chemistry and online French lessons, both of her parents have been busy laying down all the groundwork for a successful trip. Since I have been working my new job, the bulk of this has fallen on my husband (recently retired). He has been setting up bank accounts, helping her get her visa- which involved 2 trips to NYC, shopping for basic necessities and researching what to use for a cell phone.

From the end of August until late in December she will be away, on her own. Understandably, we are all a little nervous. She won’t be in contact with us as regularly as when she was in Boston. We won’t be mailing her care packages as often, either. At this time we have not made plans to visit her part way through the semester.

In an effort to put things into perspective and soothe our anxiety, my mother retold the story of her own time studying abroad in 1957. She was about the same age as my daughter but, unlike today’s colleges which all have structured plans in place for students who wish to study abroad, she had to make her own plans. Instead of journeying with a group of friends on an overnight flight, she boarded a steamship by herself and spent 6 days sailing to her port in Germany. She stayed there for a full year of study and travel-  not a shorter 4 month semester. During that year, she never once talked to her parents. It was too expensive to call the States. Instead, she faithfully wrote them a postcard each day and kept her family updated through the slower method of “snail mail”.

My mother reminded us that we will still be able to communicate with our daughter by email or Skype and that if there is the need to see her for any reason, we could be there within 24 hours- not almost a week.  Young adulthood is the time to explore and discover your interests and learn who you really are. This semester will provide my daughter plenty of opportunities to try new things and grow into the adult she will become. I look forward to hearing about her adventures and seeing the changes in her upon her return.

So- until we meet again, ma fille… “Au revoir et bonne chance! Je t’aime.”

 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Sep 10, 2015 @ 20:45:50

    It’s hard to see them go, but this electronic age offers great options for contact. You can also call via Kakao Talk and Facebook. I think it’s wonderful these opportunities exist.

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  2. themiddlegeneration
    Sep 11, 2015 @ 09:13:41

    Thanks for the tips. I never heard of Kakao Talk. I’ll have to check it out. I’m sure you have made alot of use of these methods with your children so far away. It is definitely a more global world.

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  3. Looking Out The Window
    Sep 12, 2015 @ 22:13:13

    Wishing your daughter much success and enjoyable adventures. Wishing you and your husband peace as you move into this next phase of your lives and parenting. I always wished I had taken a year when I graduate and gone to Europe, but alas my life was meant to travel a different path, so I envy her a bit. I look forward to what you share about this experience.

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Sep 12, 2015 @ 22:44:53

      It sounds like you have found your own exciting travels. Maybe they don’t sound exotic to you, but I have loved reading your accounts. Thanks for your well wishes. I think she is already taking advantage of how easy it is to travel within the EU. In only an hour she can be in another country. That is only possible here along a few borders.

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