Castle InterProgram

Hello All,

Its been awhile. I have the pleasure of announcing the formation of Castle InterProgram. I like getting people excited about the things I am passionate about and that is why I’ve started this company. Castle InterProgram exist to help young adults find their voice, learn a new language, discover a new culture. I believe in the importance of travel and that traveling builds confidence, broadens your perspective and gives you a better understanding of the world. Castle InterProgram helps you choose the right school, make the right  contacts and assist you with other arrangements. Come and be  world citizen with us @ https://castleworldtravel.com/!

A Year Abroad

 

20181004_191657.jpg vc“Gazing into the future, as far as the eye can see, somewhere in a far distance, the wind is blowing. I can’t hear what it’s saying, I sense it. A movement in my soul is awakened – trembling with wild anticipation. I feel like I am flying, but my feet are on the ground. I can’t see what’s beyond the horizon – but I can feel it.” It was about a year ago, I sat down and penned these words.

Je suis parti sans motif. I left without a reason or cause. Have you ever been called to do something or felt led to go somewhere but in your head, it makes no sense?

A year ago I decided to use GeoVisions to go on a trip of a lifetime.

It was one of my best decision! The agency never ceased to amaze me with their proficiency. Two weeks after submitting my documents I found my host family, and they welcomed me in their home and treated me like family and their extended family showered me with kindness and love. We were friends and worked as a team and they’ve allowed me to treat their kids as if they were my own and being with them never felt like a job rather a privilege to love and nurture. The children taught me how to live in the presence and it was precisely what I needed and I gained up the courage to ask myself, why did I leave on a journey all alone? I saw then, my insecurities and how much I valued the opinion of others and I realized that this was one of the reasons I had embarked on my journey: partir sans motif. I left to get control of my life. I realized that I left because I was dead inside and was searching for that thing to rekindle my relationship with God. I couldn’t do that while I was surrounded by so many voices guiding me wherever they thought I should go.

 

In a way, life was comfortable before I left home and making the decision to leave wasn’t easy. Perhaps what scared me the most was knowing that life will go on without me and when I came back things might never be the same. I didn’t have a clear reason for leaving either, I sensed that  a journey bigger than myself was awaiting.  Along the way, people I’ve met, the hardships I’ve faced, and the lives I’ve touched, in turn broaden my perspective. These experiences all confirmed my decision.

Another highlight of my year abroad, was that I’ve made so many international friends that became family and each of them taught me something about myself.

We each brought our own values and cultural differences to this family. We didn’t always agree with each other and sometimes our cultural differences challenge us but we always managed to focus on what are most important: respect and understanding.

We all had the same vision when we left home for a year abroad and this vision was that we would make lasting friendships. What we didn’t realize, was that these friendships would be so special that we would want to pass them down to our children and most importantly, our cultures will be mutually respected and appreciated.

While some of us travel to learn, to have our thinking challenged and to fall in love with the creator of this beautiful world, others just listen to that small voice telling them to go and along the way God truly reveals the reason why.

About Michelle Castle:  Michelle is 26 years old and is from Peoria, Illinois. She currently lives in Tours, France where she is attending the University of Tours.  She was previously an Au Pair in Tours, for two kids. She worked in Peoria for four years as a music teacher, site coordinator for the YMCA and as a care giver all the while working on her degree of Early Childhood Development and Small Business Management. She loves traveling and have been to over 15 different countries. She is in the process of editing the book of her year abroad and creating a program to encourage young adults to travel.

Brussels, Belgium

 

I visited Brussels recently, and I said to myself why did it take me so long to visit such a beautiful city. It was the first city that I’ve been to without a long list of what I wanted to see. I did a walking tour the first day and the rest was an adventure. I went to Brussels without knowing anything about the city and to my astonishment, I like it.

The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels.

A view of the city.

The Manneken -Pis. This little boy has about 600 outfits. He is normally dressed for special occasions.

A taste of beer…

The museum of little things. 20180703_111714

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters

 

“A sister is God’s way of proving he doesn’t want us to walk alone.”  My sisters and grandmother visited me in France for 10 days the last week of June. It was a lovely visit and we had a wonderful time together. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

 

My old roommate Bethany came for a visit around the same time. So we all went to Amboise together.

 

Fun in Tours!

 

Paris!!

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Radwan made this video of our trip. Enjoy

Thanks and until next time!

La joie des amitiés

 

We sat by the Loire river that evening, eating pizza and talking about when we first
met. Our year abroad is coming to an end and in our hearts linger this bittersweet feeling. One of the hardest things I find in traveling is saying goodbye, but that night we didn’t say goodbye to our sweet friend Lucca. We said, “we will see you soon in Brazil.” It was the biggest party I have ever hosted. In fact, the whole city came! We had music playing on every street corner. The riverfront was packed with people and we could hardly walk without bumping into someone. It was June 21st and every year on this day, French musicians make music throughout the whole country on every street corner. We laughed, we danced, and we allowed the music to express the words we couldn’t say.

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The people you meet along the way become family. I never knew what that truly
meant until one day when I was sitting across from Lin Lin. She said to me, “When you come to China, I was thinking we could do this and that. It is so beautiful in Shanghai and you will not want to leave.” I was thinking, it never crossed my mind to go to Shanghai, but the thing is, each time I say goodbye to a friend, I am getting more and more invitations to come visit their country and see where they are from. We have all become close friends and that friendship has turned us into a big international family. We all had the same vision when we left home for a year abroad and this vision was that we would make lasting friendships. What we didn’t realize, was that these friendships would be so special that we would be passing down these relationships to our children. It is our hope that the people that we’ve met would become aunts and uncles to our children and that our cultures will be respected and appreciated.

One of my friends asked, “Where should we have the next big reunion? What about China? We should all take turns hosting it in our country and show everyone around. We all know what would happen when we go visit Marie Michelle. She will have a schedule waiting for us the moment we arrive at the airport. At 8AM we eat breakfast and at 8:30 we brush our teeth and we must be ready by 8:43 to go to the museum and the best part will be when we grab that schedule and put it in the trash.” No comments! He said to me that night, our journey is like a half moon. We are happy that we’ve met so many people and that it has paved the way for our future family to have connections everywhere, but on the other hand, it is always sad to leave each other for a while. A year before I moved to France, I started praying that the Lord would help me meet inspiring people and I am so amazed at the many ways I have been blessed with sweet friendships.