[**This is a Repost from 2012: Ten years ago, I fulfilled a great passion of studying abroad at the Sorbonne university. This was also when I started my Frenchquest blog. I am reposting these incredible, otherworldly experiences of living in Paris for six months as a “non-traditional” graduate student.]

The Quest of Jules Claire

“Why would a 52 year old Pastor’s wife from El Paso, Texas with four grown daughters want to live in Paris,France for almost six months? “  This is a question that I have asked myself many times over the past year.  In seven days, I will begin this great adventure in my life and here are, I believe, the reasons for “The Quest of Jules Claire”:

 For Graduate credit:

I have been given an incredible opportunity for a Graduate Internship through UTEP to spend a semester studying French Language, History and Art at the Cours de la Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne.  Part of this course study will be to conduct research for my Final  Graduate Project: “The Acquisition of French as a Second Language:Subject Pronouns Emphasis”, in which I will be comparing and contrasting second language acquisition between an University Immersion classroom setting in Paris and classroom instruction in the United States.  That is the technical side!

To Follow my passion:

Each week I plan to take “Ghost walks”( as David calls them):

  • to visit the landscapes and landmarks around Paris and France that the Impressionists Renoir, Monet, Caillebotte, Manet and Cassatt painted,
  •  to walk the neighborhoods of the characters from the great novels of Balzac, Hugo, Dumas, Voltaire, Maupassant, and Flaubert, Hemingway and
  •  to retrace the historic steps of Napoleon and Joshephine, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and Benjamin Franklin.

3.  To Discover My family Heritage:

About six months ago, I found out that my birth mother’s family came to America from Strasbourg, in the region of Alsace, France and I’m actually ¼ French!  My great-great grandmother’s name was Louisa Chapeau and her uncle’s name was Gideon Pillar. While in France, I plan to visit this north-eastern region to see if I can find any distant relatives still living there!

4.  To Discover a Ministry Opportunity:

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” Proverbs 16:3.  The Lord gave me this verse almost three years ago when our family was praying about moving to El Paso.  I have asked the Lord to close the door on studying abroad if it was not His will. Instead,  He has provided scholarships to pay for my trip, unwavering encouragement from my husband and daughters and has given me an incredible peace in my heart.  In February of 2005, I read a devotional by Oswald Chambers that  I claim for this trip: “Always beware of giving over to mere dreaming when once God has spoken.  Leave Him to be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said”(36).

I guess the question now is “Why not?”

Copyright 2012 by Robyn Lowrie.  May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (www.frenchquest.com)