• Ashley Nicole

Anywhere But Here

Hello dear friends,

It has been a while since I have shared any updates to my life - were I am, what's my plan and what's been going on. A lot of things have been happening, and I thought I'd give you some insight.

Let me get started by saying, "I'm still here!!" Oh yes, I am still in the lovely little city of Lille, France. Let me tell you, I have actually tried to leave three times, but each time, something happens which keeps me here. I have even gone as far as to quit my job, having to humbly ask for my job back a week before my anticipated departure date. With all of these attempts to begin the next chapter of my life, I really thought that today, I would be literally anywhere but here.

When I came to France, I had no official departure date in mind, but only the hypothetical thought of leaving at the end of the summer. After many doors and potential opportunities closed before me, I realized that apparently, it was not yet time to leave. As someone who used to love being in control and to know what is going on, well in advance, it has certainly been a growing experience for me. I am thankful for the calmness that I have had and by the grace of God, the ability to be really relaxed about the whole thing. I even had someone comment that I was the most laid back person that they knew, when I still had nowhere to live a week before my intended departure. (For anyone who knew me in the past, this isn't something ANYONE would dream of saying about me.)

With all of these failed attempts to leave, it really has reminded me that I am not really in control. "A man's heart plans his way; but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) This verse is a great reminder to me, that sometimes things won't work out exactly how I plan, but despite all of that, God is way more in control than I could ever be. With all of these failed attempts to move away, I have been able to stay here and experience things that I otherwise never would have.

I have been able to deepen my friendships with those here closest to me and have continued to strengthen my French speaking abilities. I have continued to be challenged in my daily life and have had chances to overcome struggles and grow in ways that I otherwise couldn't have. Staying here, even since these last few months, I have had 3 different friends from North America who I have met up with, here in France. I have had the incredible opportunity to spend time with them in this place I have called home, and have been able to show them some of my favourite places. What an honour!

Whether or not I realized it at the time, getting to continue to work and live here has been an incredible opportunity. Despite it not being a part of my plan, it has been an enriching opportunity in my life. For all of these things, I am truly grateful.

Before I let you go, I have one more piece of news. This past October, I had the opportunity to go and visit with my boyfriend and his family, who live in Scotland. While were were there, hiking in Glen Coe (one of the most beautiful places on earth) we got engaged!

We are looking forward to finally getting to live in the SAME country together. Lots of planning ahead for the big day, I'm sure, but for now, despite the distance, we can rest in knowing that one day, we won't have to keep saying goodbye.

Anyways, I think that's all for now. As always, feel free to add your two cents into the comments or reach out. I'd love to hear from you!