I Am Brave

I was going to write a post. It was going to be something academic-sounding, like “I Am Brave: Living Abroad and Glimpses into ‘The Immigrant Experience.'” “The Immigrant Experience” tongue firmly in cheek, of course, because there are as many immigrant experiences as there are immigrants. And I don’t presume to have more than micrometer-sized glimpses of immigrant life from living briefly as an ex-pat, even a broke ex-pat.

Anyway. I was going to write that post.

And then I walked, took a bus, took a taxi to the local ecole d’equitation. I spoke the French of a two-year-old until I found someone who spoke English. I got a crash course on grooming and tacking my schooling horse (I have only ever ridden bareback before).

Then I took a riding lesson. In French. I posted at the trot for the first time, I cantered for the first time. (Dear French people: you are missing a gait when it comes to the horse. It is called a “gallop.” I know you think you have a gallop, but that’s a canter. Won’t you be surprised when you realize the horse can go faster?) I struggled to understand and apply a series of home signs combined with a few words I began to recognize. I struggled to understand and apply my bareback natural horsemanship lessons to riding with a saddle. I struggled to keep my feet in the fucking stirrups, and not to fall off.

I struggled like hell to communicate.

When I was done, I walked for an hour, in the rain and the cold and the dark, to the nearest night-time bus stop, 4 km away. I huddled under the bus-shelter, feeling my saddle sores, as the rain turned to freezing rain.

I got on the bus. I got off the bus. I walked the rest of the way home. My husband peeled me out of my clothes, literally, in an entirely non-sexual way, stuck me in front of the bathroom heater, then stuck me in the shower.

In total, it took five hours of my life to get a one hour riding lesson.

Next week, I’m going to do it again.

I am fucking brave.

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3 thoughts on “I Am Brave

  1. lillight says:

    You inspire me. I am going to be brave (err. nuts?) again and start going to night swim practices so that I can take the train and bus for five hours between travel for both swim teams.

    You are amazing. I don’t honestly think I have the guts to attempt something like riding lessons in another language.

  2. I think the reason I wanted to write a post about the larger scope is that living in a country where you don’t speak the language makes you brave. Because over and over again, you’re faced with situations where you just have to do the thing you’re afraid of to survive. You have to buy groceries. You have to get laundry detergent and tokens for the machines. You have to navigate the bus system. And for me, the fear comes and goes, but even when I’m terrified of calling laundry tokens the wrong thing for the tenth time, I still have to ask for the damn tokens. So living here has bene a crash course of being terrified of things (or hating doing them, or, or, or) and doing them anyway.

  3. Jane says:

    WOOO HOOOOO!!!!!! 😀 One day you will know which grocery stores have the best (and cheapest) bread and cheese, feel at ease asking for laundry tokens, you will gallop on the horse and the French will realize what they’ve been missing, and that’s the point you’ll back and realize how far you’ve come. You go ride that horse, girl, you got this.

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