Project Joie de Vivre

The French Program at NMU, through its French Club, in celebration of Valentine’s Day 2017, presents PROJECT JOIE DE VIVRE (The Joy in Living).

Selected entries from among submitted by individuals from Northern Michigan University and throughout the Upper Peninsula.


1/8/2016 - The day of complete happiness to me was just the other day. I had the opportunity to spend that day with my significant other, Mari. It means so much to me because she will be across the country for the next three months. I hold on to this day until I have the chance to once again be in her arms. I love her so much, I even plan on marrying her well someday. Until then I must wait here for her.

Saturday January 28th, 2017 - Last Saturday while watching my darling Grandchildren, they helped me trim a Valentine's tree. We decided to keep our artificial tree up all year and decorate it monthly. The way they love each other and pay attention to one another is every Grandparents wish.  How happy it made me to know my children's children care about each other. Pure happiness!

Recurrent whenever I can get there:) - Floating in the very shallow water off a beach in the Virgin Islands with my face in the water looking through my mask at the school of tiny silvery fish (silversides) that surround me with white sand beneath me. It the ultimate in peaceful.  Completely separate from the "real world" and I can intimately see the wonder of life around me while feeling absolutely no threat. The water bouys me and the little fish are both individuals and part of an endless school of color and light. Ever after I can close my eyes and imagine that scene.

1/6/2014 - I have never known such joy as being present for the birth of my first grandchild, observing with pride the devoted and tender support my son gave to his wife and the overwhelming emotion of immeasurable love as we all held her for the very first time. It was such perfect happiness that years later it still makes me smile. 

2/6/2017 - A moment of happiness is sitting on my yoga mat without a thought in my mind. Pure bliss...setting good intentions for the day and living in the present.

7/30/2016 - One of my favorite moments of happiness was simple and occurred last year on my birthday. I don't usually do anything super special for my birthday, I just have a nice dinner with family and friends enjoying my favorite foods. It is just nice to have everyone together at once that are important to me to help celebrate! My aunt also always makes me a chocolate raspberry cheesecake and it is my favorite! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - Standing atop a lush coffee plantation in Costa Rica, 2014, I gazed to the sea through the dancing wheat grass. The birds were chanting as the breeze picked up my hair. I felt it embrace me, warm and sweet. Smiling, I closed my eyes to feel every aspect of this moment. Bliss. 

7/16/2016 - Staring out at Lake Michigan during one of the most spectacular sunsets I've experienced with one of my closest friends by my side. The waves of the lake were crashing on the shoreline. We ran down from the beach house to the sand, kicking our shoes off along the way. We splashed in the water, laughing and shrieking with delight. We had a perfect day, and in that moment I felt a pure happiness and I was utterly in awe of the world around me. 

June 7 2016 - It was our last night in Paris this past summer and my friends and I sat out on our balcony, you could only get to it by climbing through the bedroom window. We listened to music and drank rosé and I ate a lemon crepe.  We were able to see the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-CÅ“ur all from the view of our little hotel.  It  was one of the best moments of my life.

2/11/2017 - The moment I crested the Dead Woman Pass, the highest spot on the Inca Trail. I had invested so much effort in conditioning.  And the name of the pass was rather intimidating. It was similar to running a marathon, but it took 3 days to get there, so I had plenty of time to think.

1/20/2017 - My most recent trip with my children.  As I was interacting with dolphins and sea lions in the Bahamas with my children I was reminded that this day, like every day, was a gift.  I have made up my mind to appreciate every day with my children, no matter where we may be.

10/29/2016 - Being a student of Northern, it is hard not to fall into the stereotype of somebody who loves to be surrounded by the outdoors. My "Joie de Vivre" has to be when I am celebrating the natural world around me, whether it be Mother Superior or Hogback Mountain. This was true particularly last fall, when I had two friends from Wisconsin visit the area with me. The clash of my two extreme passions - the Upper Peninsula's beauty and my longstanding friendships - made for a weekend of intense joy. I would not have wanted to experience those moments with anybody else.

As much as I can! - My moments of happiness are always associated with connection. Whether i feel this connection with myself, my friends and family, or nature, I feel my happiest when I can feel myself connecting with the environment around me. I think that it is in these moments of connection when we learn the most about ourselves and the world around us, and this knowledge helps us feel more at peace with the life we are living.

October 2016 - Climbing my first mountain (Hogsback) and getting to see the lake from above. It was late fall, and the leaves were vibrant and the sun was out. Only a few friends with me, i felt so happy, like i had completely disconnected from the modern world.