Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Plans Change/I am Sabrina

Ok, it's a fact of life, plans change. For inevitable or unavoidable reasons sometimes things don't go exactly according to plan. But bring on that horribly overused saying, "Don't let it get you down!" (Please insert appropriate "When life gives you lemons..."saying here)

So I am headed back to Canada for an undetermined amount of time this week. I had planned on being paid by my company for the internship, however because of one completely unnecessary line in my contract I'm not eligible to be paid. This is not the end of the world. I obviously am very grateful for the grant that I received to come here. But the money from my company had been budgeted to get me through the next month. Oh well...I'm back at square one, and homeless once again! (Maybe Buttercup will take me back...)

It has been a beautiful week in Paris. Sunny and 15-17 degrees all this week (now insert the jealous sigh here!)! I couldn't ask for a better way to go out. Now I think that it is only appropriate that I take this time to reflect a bit on my time here...

So I've come to hate the term "Once in a lifetime..." because anything is possible and there's absolutely no rule that says you may only experience something like this once. However if I say that perhaps you'll be able to grasp the depth of my experience here. There is not one moment that I would take back over the past 6 months. True to the "Sabrina" lifestyle I've had, you know...finding myself...I am a changed person. At the same time, please expect the same Kate to emerge from the plane, however my outlook on many things, including myself, has changed.

I have, for the past six months, lived a life that I have been wanting for many years. I thought it was so romantic and grown up to move to Paris. To wake up each morning, and walk to my office in a very respectable organization, to walk out at night and buy my dinner at the outside market. I dreamed of this, I really did and I also lived it! Ok so there were crappy days, there were days I wished I had someone who loved me to hug me and tell me it will be ok. Some days I would have jumped on a plane the minute someone offered, however I quickly learned that those feelings were normally brought on by something beyond my control (i.e. sickness, I was sick so much here!) and you just have to roll though that.

The most important lesson I learned here had nothing to do with International Trade or Impressionism(art...museums...duh!) had to do with me. I learned a lot of my strengths and weaknesses. Let's just say that I will now rock the interview question: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" Bring it on (no really, I need a job!)! I've had days where I was proud of myself. And that's a difficult thing to do, to genuinely be proud of yourself and the effort you put into something. I had an amazing boss, who took the time to praise you when you deserved it, he didn't coddle me...he gave it to me straight when something wasn't right. So many times I got back good copies of letters I'd drafted and they did not resemble anything I wrote. He made sure to let me know this was the way that he wanted it, and told me soon enough I'd hear his voice in my head writing the letter. He gave me tasks that I was scared to death to do. To call these big organizations to make contacts and get support. And when I succeeded he praised me and I felt like I had genuinely contributed to the organization and the future of this project. He told me that he couldn't have gotten through the last six months without me...and while I know that everyone is replaceable, and this line is given out too much in general to actual mean a lot to me, I certainly appreciated his gratitude for things I did. I take many skills with me, but one of the most important is how to be a good manager.

Everyone asks if I'm sad to leave. Well of course it's hard to pick up and leave right now. Wrapping up my work this week has been difficult. I have to train someone to replace me and it's hard for me to let go of it all. For the last 6 months I have lived and breathed Certificates of Origin and this project. I had a call today from a member in London to go over some projects and I told him that I would be leaving this week and someone else would be replacing me and he seemed so surprised to hear I was leaving. It's things like that I don't want to pass on. I have worked hard at making these contacts and having them trust me and now they will call when they need help. I can't help but not want to pass them over...but I'll get over it. I'm not sure if it's a strength or a weakness but I have an incredible loyalty for any company I work for. Just like the Tour Coordinator, you start somewhere, get into and then have to leave making your work as transparent as possible for the next person to take over. That's how I learned the important lesson that anyone is replaceable. You just have to make them want you to stay. My boss does want me to stay, but it's not that easy at the moment, no money, no visa, no money...but I at least know I have a strong reference!

Ok this is long and drawn out and I don't even care if no one got this far...this was a wrap up for me! Thanks to everyone who supported me, who listened to me, who loved me, who knew I could do even when I wasn't so sure myself. I didn't win the Olympics, I didn't find a cure for Cancer, but I got to know myself a little bit better and that's good enough for me. I am Sabrina.

Catch on the other side of the ocean y'all. It's only a stopover cause there's no way I'm staying away from this place for long!

Love love love



At 4:24 PM , Anonymous Reyna said...

Well written article.


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