I Dream Of Consulate Appointments

I would love to have the “I dream of Jeannie” theme song for you to begin this post, but I am yet to be that computer savvy (I am sure it will come with time). Here is the written version: Do do, do do-do do do, do do, do-do do do do, do do, do-do do do do, DO! I am sure that will be difficult to understand if you have never seen that TV show!

Last night I dreamt of my appointment at the consulate. I remember the dream very clearly as it was the last dream I had before I woke up. Here is what happened: I am called to the desk by an older gentleman. I walk up to the desk, dressed casually with my folder in hand with all the documents. I remember having a gut feeling that I was not prepared enough and would not be granted the visa (of course my worse fears would be played out in the dream). The man begins to speak to me IN FRENCH! And I speak back in French, a very slow, broken French. I remember speaking, and saying things that made sense but at this point, I have no clue what was actually said. He decides to switch my case over to a younger woman. She spoke in English. She was going through the documents and I realized that I had forgotten to provide the necessary photocopies and I had not typed up the documents. The letter, for example, was hand written, in pencil, on lined paper (worst case scenario!!). I realized what I had done wrong and decided, on a whim, to ask her straight up, “So, can I have the visa?” She of course said that they would not provide the visa. Well, me being myself, decided to tell her that even though they would not grant it today, I had booked another appointment a couple of days later. I remember trying to reach the humanity in this lady and said, “Please, as a friend, since I will be back anyway, tell me what I can do to obtain the visa in a couple of days.” She looked at me, pitifully, and sighed. Then, she proceeded to tell me that I needed to type out my documents, provide the necessary photocopies (obviously!), dress professionally and use Aveda skin lotion on my face.

You heard me right! I needed to use Aveda skin lotion on my face! How this would help me obtain the visa, only my subconscious mind will know.

Even though this is a dream, it really brought me some insight. I need to take this seriously. My broken French cannot save me if I am not fully prepared. And because of this dream, I will dress professionally for my appointment!

I am now also seriously debating buying some Aveda skin lotion for good luck!

I woke up right after the dream. Mon homme lay beside me sound asleep, but not for long. I tapped him, calling his name, “Max! Max! Max!” He answered with a muffled yes. “Today, can we go over the letter to the consulate again?” he answered with another muffled yes and we both fell back asleep.

And with that I leave you with this: If you want this visa, use Aveda!

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Travel Anxiety Turns Into Excitement

Traveling can bring on great anxiety. This can be true for any trip, even if the trip will only last one week long.

I remember very clearly the stress my parents would always have a week before going on vacation. By the end of that week, they really proved the need for the vacation! I, myself, have traveled too and I always have that pre-trip anxiety. My mind jumps to all of the worse case scenarios: What if I forget something, what if I get stopped at the border, I don’t want to be late for the flight, did I print all the right documents? What if the airplane has a problem, what if I hate the place I am going…and more. Each thought glimpses through my mind for a few split seconds before I get distracted by another fleeting thought. Now imagine planning to go away for an entire year! This trip has the potential of bringing me great anxiety.

Tangent: Manifestation

I am choosing to go on a little tangent now, I want to talk about my little obsession with manifestation. New age pop culture has infested my mind with the idea of manifestation. I looked this word up to explain it to my FB (French boyfriend) but the dictionary definition proved unsatisfactory.

The dictionary says, “Manifest (verb): 1) to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh. 2) to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant. 3) to record in a ship’s manifest. (Thank you dictionary.com)

I am clearly not talking about recording a ship’s manifest. Making something clear and evident to the eye seems more accurate. I am talking about physically manifesting a situation. Thinking and feeling something so often that it comes true (literally making something evident). Creating from nothing! In the negative terms, this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Shakespeare's version of self-fulfilling prophecy in Macbeth

So, on top of all the normal anxiety I was having for the trip, I was also worried about being worried, afraid that I could physically manifest all of my worries. Until my FB said something that really changed my thinking. “If you are afraid of manifesting, why don’t you just manifest what you want instead, like a great flight and an easy travel.” It is so true! If  (and that is a strong if) I can manifest scenarios with my thoughts and feelings, than I might as well manifest good things. Positive thinking, in simpler words.

Anxiety is the same as excitement!

I have struggled with anxiety for a while and what really changed my perspective on the anxiety is when I was told that anxiety and excitement are located in the same part of the brain (do not quote me on this, I have no clue if it is true). The body’s physical response to these two feelings is identical: sweating, fast heart rate, etc. And what is so great about this little fact tidbit is that when I simply choose to switch that one negative traveling thought into a happier one, my body’s reaction is instantaneous. I feel excited!

I love feeling excited!

The idea of having to go through this challenge is now starting to really excite me. The idea of flying 30,000 feet over the Earth’s surface (going so fast!) is kind of cool. And going through the whole experience of settling for a year in a new country seems like it will be satisfying not impossible!

If my thoughts can really manifest something from nothing, than I will have a flight on the clearest day of the year, with no turbulence, arriving an hour early. I will have a job within the first two months in France, the French will love me, the visa will be handed to me no problem and all will be well.



Faith

Such a broad topic for so many people. What is faith? For me its belief. Belief that I can accomplish every goal and dream I have and it will happen in the best way, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Most people take faith in something outside of themselves. I choose to take faith in life itself, and more specifically these words “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo“. I have faith that when I chant those words morning and night, that amazing things will happen and I will never be left stuck.

I am Buddhist. Not that that makes a difference in who I am. It is just my cup of tea (the tea being the faith). I practice Buddhism with the SGI, a lay Buddhist organization that follows Nichiren Daishonin‘s teachings on the Lotus Sutra. There is such history behind the Lotus Sutra and the meaning behind those words that I will not go into detail about right now.

I believe that by chanting Nam-Myo-Renge-Kyo in front of my inscribed Gohonzon (a scroll that has many Sanskrit characters on it) that I will be able to unlock my unlimited potential and achieve ANYTHING. I believe that I can be happy, no matter what my circumstances are and more importantly, that I can change my circumstances!

Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo produces tangible, actual proof in the lives of millions of people. And because of the faith I have in my practice, I am not afraid of what will happen in France. I have faith.

I was told not to count on getting a job in France, but you see, that kind of thinking is unacceptable to me. I will get a job in France. Not only for me, but to give hope to all others in the same situation and to give inspiration to my readers. I will do it for everyone’s happiness. I am not saying it will be easy but it will happen. I know that because of the law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Chanting these words gives me the life force to make the impossible, possible.

It may take me studying french for hours upon hours a day, plus hours of chanting plus handing out 15 resumes a day. It might take more. It might take patience and it may take putting up with a lot of things that I don’t want to,  but the point is, I am going to France to work. Bottom line.

And to prove the power of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (as encouraged by all the members) I will write a list of the qualities I want in a job when I go there and I will not stop chanting until I have it. I will report on this again when I am actually in France looking.

My French job will:

-Be at a bakery of some sort
-Be enough pay to pay rent, groceries, transportation, cellphone, credit cards, and OSAP payment and a little extra
-I will have a boss who really is passionate about teaching me the art
-35-40 hours per week
-Close to my place (walking distance)

One thing I really love about the SGI is that it is in 192 countries (including France)! The community is so close, so I know when I go to France, the organization will already be aware of my arrival. I will immediately have a resource to meet people and share my life with.

I was given a gift…

Bonjour mes amies! Long post today (bear with me).

Mon voyage is just around the corner and I am beginning to taste it! I have booked the appointment with the French consulate for June 15th, exactly 3 months before I want to leave. The earliest you can book an appointment is three months before the leave date, and as I want to leave September 15th I am taking no chances! I have heard rumors (around the internet) that the consulate only gives out an allotted number of 2E Visas for the year. I emailed them and asked them if they would still have some in July. Their response was, “Our records show we will still have visas in July although we cannot guarantee this.” I took that as book as early as possible. My sister’s wedding is on the last week of August on a cruise in Alaska!!!! So therefore the 15th of September seems like the earliest possible date.

Money has been the largest stress in obtaining this visa. As I have mentioned before, I am working at a clothing store, so my wage is not very large. I have been on an incredibly strict budget since February and have been saving most of what I make since then. I pay the bills I need to pay and also take French lessons once a week. Groceries and transportation are basically the only things I can buy on this budget. So, as you can imagine, I have been a little stressed over the past few months.

“Why are you doing this?” You may ask. “Is it so important that you are giving up your lifestyle just to go on this trip?”, “Can’t you postpone the trip so saving won’t be as stressful?”

I was goal-less you see. I truly believe that a huge component of human happiness lies in accomplishing goals. In late December I realized that the school program I was attending was not aligned with my core values or beliefs. I simply did not want to invest in a career I did not want to pursue. In January I was goal-less. I have been mentioning wanting to move to France for years now but always felt it wasn’t the right time. Well, the right time knocked on my door in late January.

Perfect timing looks like this: No school, stuck in dead-end (low wage) job, dream of going to France, itching for a mission, French boyfriend, sister being married off, best-friend breaking up with me, other best friend moving out of country, other best friend having a new relationship, my aunt’s boyfriend moving into our already cramped apartment…

I told you…Its perfect timing! As for choosing September, like I mentioned before, these visas run out (and who really wants to be apart from their love for too long!)

So I have cut back and saved everything I could have saved. Recently I truly began to appreciate this new lifestyle. I felt like I have been practicing for the way I may need to live in France. I stopped spending every paycheck on things I don’t need, books I don’t read, food that sits in the fridge and goes bad, and all non-essentials. I have been visiting the library, savouring my French lessons and spending quality time with friends. The money was accumulating and I was constantly hoping for an unexpected source of income to relieve that burden. I knew that even if I were to get an unexpected source of income I would still continue saving (because it feels so good!).

The other day I decided to finally  tell my aunt (whom I live with) that I will be moving to France in September. I told her the details, the amount of money I needed and the excitement I have. She left me for a few moments and returned with the remainder of the money I will need to obtain the visa!!

Isn’t that just wonderful?! I was hoping so much from the bottom of my heart that something would happen with the financial situation and lo and behold it shows up! I thanked my aunt a gazillion times (and cried in joy). This weekend my friends and I celebrated this success!

I will continue to save for the rest of my time here in Canada, as this saving is making me realize how much MORE fun I can have in France with small little sacrifices here and there. I have one more leg of this visa journey being the actual appointment and (cross my fingers, knock-on-wood, etc.) the APPROVAL of the visa! But all in all I am sure France will be seeing me shortly.

Until next time…

Faith, Fears, Frustration, Funds, Family, France

Faith: Have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith, have faith!

Fears: I really need to start facing these. Is the airplane going to crash? Um, probably not. Is it possible that things will not go as planned when I arrive in France? Very possible! I guess I just need to accept these truths and let the fear go.

Frustration: 2 words: Learning French!

Funds: Dear the bank of the universe, please send me all necessary funds asap so I can stop worrying about them. P.s. please send me some extra funds for 2-3 pretty summer dresses. Thanks. I love you! Laura

Family: I finally told my mom I am leaving and she seemed pretty pumped about it! Yay!

France: I CAN’T WAIT!

 

Amazing New Developments!

I’m starting to get very excited about this trip! I’m seeing signs of France all around me. I walk down the street and think of France and Carla Bruni comes on the shuffle of my Ipod. Or I browse the bookstores and books of Paris and France stand out on the shelves immediately.

My boyfriend has begun to tell me of French history and show me French monuments online. He tells of French style bakeries and feeds me delicious food from France (like duck neck!!!). Small french conversations are also occurring between us! Ex: “Je fais dejeuner” I’m making lunch.

Things are looking up. The money I’m saving is starting to look promising and the language is really, really improving. And as far as the documents go:

  • I found personal liability insurance: I do not own a home or car and therefore I could not extend this type of coverage to include personal liability (as most people can do). Instead, I simply need to purchase tenant’s insurance (approx. $250/year) and I will be covered!
  • I am covered and have a document for provincial health insurance: I went to Service Ontario, told them my situation and received my document all in about 40 minutes (35 minutes of waiting).
  • Cover letter to the consulate general has been written in French and just needs to be corrected by French bf.

Pictures are still to come. I also realized that I will need to print the application on long sheets of paper…

I’m so close I can already taste the baguette!

 

And let the miracles begin…

Something amazing happened! In my last post I wrote about my little financial obstacle that just happened. Well, the solution has been found.

Yesterday morning I decided that instead of waiting around feeling sorry for myself, I needed to do something. I would get a second job. Yes it would be hard, yes I may not really enjoy it (although that would be a choice depending on the attitude I take), but yes I needed one and I would do it!

I live in a small village incorporated into a larger town. The boutique I work at is in this village and so are many other little stores, shops, restaurants and bars. The owner of the clothing store I work in is head of the council for this town so I told him when I came into work, “I need a second job.” I asked him if he knew anyone in town who he could recommend me too and the response I received was far greater than anything I could have asked for! He said he didn’t want to share me and that he will help me get this extra money I need, by the date I need it, in exchange for some extra work and helping out whenever its needed! And of course I agreed that this is an awesome option!

Hopefully there will be more good news to come soon!