The Chronicle’s newest blogger, Marina Royston, is about to set off to France, where she’ll work for French eventers Lindsay and Xavier Traisnel. And while she’s learning loads of new stuff (and trying to remember French), she’ll share her stories with us!
In March this year, a friend of mine and I were talking about a girl who was moving to Germany to ride horses. She and her boyfriend were going to start their own yard and business. I distinctly remember saying, “Oh wow! That’s just insane to me, to move your whole life to a different continent. The packing alone, but adding in a new language too! Wow”.
But yet, just eight months later and I’m doing just what I previously couldn’t imagine doing. And yes, its just as insane and scary as it sounds.
The main questions I’ve been asked from people have been:
How long are you going? A year, I’ll leave on November 30th.
Who are you working for? Lindsay and Xavier Traisnel, a pretty awesome, talented, ambitious couple that people only have good things to say about.
What are you doing over there? Training, showing and selling young horses.
Couldn’t you do that here? I guess, but it’s learning how to do young horses in Europe, experiencing that environment and business, as well as getting the chance to live abroad that is more the reason to go.
Well, do you even speak French? A bit, I was fairly good at it when I practiced it constantly and had people to converse with. But I’ve been out of practice for a while.
I am incredibly excited for this opportunity, overwhelmingly grateful for the support my family is giving me, and forever in debt to the amazing coaches and trainers I’ve been privileged enough to work with that have gotten me here. But once the initial excitement fades, I also feel fear, stress, and uncertainty.
As a self-proclaimed gypsy, I’ve moved around a lot (Virginia, Kentucky, North Caroline, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania), so it’s not the new place that is alarming. I have gone to work for many different professionals who each have their own programs and ways of doing things, so it’s not the new barn. It’s not even the fact that it’s a different country, as I’ve been to France several times and love it, but rather the distance from the friends. Over the past two years I’ve spent in Middleburg, Va., I have found some really amazing people, and I know already that going 12 months without them is going to be hard, and that’s scary.
I don’t mind unpacking in a new place because that’s exciting. Getting out all my belongings and turning a blank space into my own is fun. It’s the start of a new adventure, a new era. I remember every room I’ve ever stayed in because they’ve all been different, the one constant being my possessions and me.
But I hate packing, I hate having to choose what to bring with me, and what to leave behind. Last year when I was packing for Aiken, S.C., I texted a friend, “I hate packing because I feel like my clothes are my children and I’m being forced to pick favorites”, and this is still true, for a longer timeline and less luggage space. It may seem silly, shallow or materialistic but it’s because my clothes are memories. Memories of when I got them, where I wore them, and what has happened in them. Also I believe the right outfit can give a person confidence in way that nothing else can. And by leaving clothes behind, I’m leaving behind the opportunity to feel confident. To me clothes aren’t something you put on to impress others, attract others or show your financial situation. They’re armor you put on to face the day.
Luckily or unluckily, however you look at it, the uncertainty I’m facing is vague. The details I can ask about. I can email Lindsay and ask if I need bedding, saddle pads or how close the grocery store is. Vague as in: will I like it? Am I going to pick up French again? What is the weather going to be like? Will I pack the right things? Will I do the right things? Will I be the right thing?
I know in my head that everything will work out, there will be some bumbling, some fumbling and general blonde moments that seem to follow me everywhere, but it will work out.
Now I just have to remember where I put my passport…