Joy in the Midst of Disaster

Christella Philippe
October 1, 2019

It's official, I have been in Paris for a month now and it has truly been an adventure. I have faced many obstacles during my short time here but have found joy in every situation.
Studying abroad can be very difficult when you have problems and need to communicate with people back home. Whether it's your phone plan or the time difference, staying in touch can be a bit frustrating when you have problems that need a quick resolution.
So sit back, relax and listen to how I have had the worst luck in Paris this month but have somehow fallen in love with the city.

If you read my last blog, you will remember that I was sick before I went to Paris. To my surprise, that sickness lasted almost 3 weeks. I thought it was just a cold that would go away eventually, but moving to a different country with lots of new germs didn't help my case. My host family was very sweet and made sure I got all the medication I needed to get well.
During my sickness, I ran into some other difficulties. As soon as a arrived in Paris my Uber dropped me off a bit far from my apartment. So there I was for almost 30 minutes with no phone service and four bags roaming the streets trying to find my apartment. Eventually, I scraped up all the French I had and asked strangers on the street for help.
Once I got settled in, I went to buy my metro pass. To my surprise, my debit cards didn't work, even after I told my bank I was going out of the country. Luckily, I had their email and worked everything out within 2 days of my arrival.
Now it was time to open my laptop and prepare for orientation that started a day after my arrival. Once I turned it on, I was welcomed by a message that said my laptop had crashed and that it no longer wants to work. For weeks I have been in contact with my school trying to fix it and reinstall Windows, but it doesn't seem to work. I've had countless conversations with Dell and I've had no luck. I am currently using a loaner laptop from my program to do my homework and type this blog!
As the days go by, I decide that I need to buy school supplies. I go into this store named HEMA to do so. The following weekend, I head to the south of France with some friends to enjoy Marseille. When I get to Marseille, I could not find my debit card. That's right, your girl spent a whole weekend away with 13 euros. If you have ever been to France, you will know how difficult that is since it is hard to find a glass of water for 13 euros (I'm joking). By splitting meals with friends, I was able to survive the weekend but when I got back to Paris I still couldn't find my card. I then returned to HEMA after a week and the boy at the register automatically recognized me. He said, "you forgot your card" in English with the deepest french accent that brought me so much joy. When he handed it to me I almost cried because if I had closed my card it would take almost another month to get a new one in France.
A few days had passed and things were finally starting to work out for me. My laptop still wasn't fixed, but I was making friends and having fun. One night I went to meet up with friends and took the public bus. When I got off the bus, I felt a bit lighter than usual. That's when I realized that I left my purse on the bus. At that moment I thought my life was over. In my purse, I had my debit card, ID, phone charger, American sim card and more. I quickly called my program to tell them what happened and then called an Uber to drive me to the last stop of the bus for the night. My Uber driver was the best Uber driver in France because after I told him what happened he drove me to multiple stops, got out of the car with me and spoke to bus drivers for me in French to better explain my situation. Finally, he drove me to the bus compound where all the buses check-in for the night and waited with me for about 30 minutes with still no luck. The worker at the desk told me that all busses should be in before 3 am, so they would call me if they found it. As I rode home, my Uber driver assured me not to worry and that my purse would be found. When I got home I went to bed and at 2:24 am my phone rang, it was the bus compound, they had found my purse. I don't have the words to express the joy that I felt at that moment. The next morning I went to pick up my purse and nothing was missing, not even a penny.
That was all in one month, and as you can see, the struggle has been real. Through every situation, I have found joy and peace. I have made new friends, found a church and bible study group and have even joined the worship team for Hillsong Paris! When I look back in every situation, God had me. Although studying abroad can be lonely, I have felt loved, welcomed and I know that I am not alone no matter what I face. I can only hope that next month is more kind to me, but if it isn't, my joy will not be disrupted because of the source that it comes from.

How to Pray for me:
pray that my laptop gets fixed
pray that I keep up with all my classes because they are all in French
pray that I stop losing things
pray that I find joy in every situation

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Christella Philippe

<p>Hello world, My name is Christella and I am a senior music major, with a vocal emphasis at Berea College in Berea Kentucky. I am originally from Cap-Haitian, Haiti and music is my passion. During my free time I enjoy writing songs, playing instruments, poetry, reading, cooking, and going on adventures. My friends describe me as a spiritual leader and a Jokester because I love making people laugh. A fun fact about me is that I wrote/co-produced an album that you can find on Thank you how joining me as I experience Paris!</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
Berea College
Berea, KY
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