Should have warned you….

So, I feel I should have warned anyone who may actually be checking this blog that I fail at keeping up with these things. I’ve never been able to keep a diary/journal or even my own blog… so I don’t really know why I though I could keep up with one this time. So, I’m sorry to anyone who has checked back here only to find nothing new for months. As my new years resolution, I will try to better next semester…

But, on to my life in Paris. Our 3 months here flew by. Classes finished on the 8th, and we had an official “graduation ceremony” on the 11th. Good news is we all passed- yea! Mel left on the 14th (to go home to get married), and Jamie left this morning. It’s going to be a tad lonely around the apartment now. Even though I know that staying here over Christmas will ultimately help my language acquisition, and not having to go through culture shock twice in a month is a good thing, but I still wish I could have gone home. Its hard to be so far from family and friends over the holidays. The city is beautiful though. There are lights everywhere, and most places have trees up. I even bought a small tree for the apartment.

The hardest thing about the winter here is seeing all the homeless. They are here all year round, but in the summer, they  can be almost anywhere in the city (parks, benches, sidewalks…) but now that its freezing outside, they tend to congregate in the metro stations since they are heated. I have decided that living in a big city, and seeing homeless people daily can really turn you into a cynical person. It’s so hard to know who really needs your help and who is trying to scam you. In the States, I would have said I’m a compassionate person, but being here has brought out a side of me I never knew existed. It takes conscious effort to feel sympathy for most of the people here asking for handouts. It can be so hard to feel bad for the half-drunk men peeing in a corner of the metro station. But, as difficult as it is, it is what we are called to do. It is not our job to judge them, to judge their mistakes and blame them; while their problems may be of their own doing, that is not what God told us to do. He told us to love them, and have compassion on them; to help those who (for whatever reason) are in need. what would happen if we stopped looking past them, and started looking at them? What if I stop assuming that my money will go towards alcohol and instead leave that between them and God. Someone once told me, when I asked how he could just hand someone 20 bucks and not assume it will go towards drugs or alcohol, the we will each be judged by our hearts and actions- you will be credited for your goodwill and generosity, and the receiver will be judged by how the money is spent; but that should never be a reason not to give. That doesnt mean go around handing out money willy-nilly, but you should also never ignore the prompting of the spirit. Sorry if this is a bit heavy, and rambling- they are thoughts that have been floating around my head for the past few weeks, and they have been a bit hard to pin down.

Anyway, I hope all the Gracies have a wonderful Christmas break. Rest up and get ready for the new semester. I don’t know if I will write again before the new year, but if not, I will let you know when I get settled into Dijon (I leave Paris at the end of December).

~Michelle

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