Friday, June 15, 2012

Updates and Such

Soooo.... it has been about four weeks since I've updated this blog. And oh, so much has happened. Well, not that much. But something all the same.

If you please think back to two weeks ago, on a Saturday. It was a nice Saturday in my part of the Bay Area: the inklings of summer already starting to ebb through the warm haze of late Spring. San Francisco, on the other hand, had other plans for the weather. The wind whipped viciously, and the fog was thick and all-encompassing. Yet even this typical San Francisco weather couldn't deter the sheer excitement that was bubbling in my stomach. Yes, ladies and gentlemen (or whoever reads my blog), last Saturday was my pre-departure orientation. Woohoo!

The orientation was everything that I expected. We played some games, talked about some stuff, met some people. We didn't really talk about anything that I hadn't heard before (except for a really detailed tutorial on how to use a bidet), but it just rocked to be there, to feel like I was actually getting closer to the colossal question mark that is my year in France. I met so many ridiculously awesome people - the entire experience made me so grateful and happy to be part of such a great program.

One particular exorcise that I found most jarring was one to simulate the frustration that we'll encounter while struggling with a different language. We were given pen and paper, and then told to write our names with our non-dominant hand (my right, if anyone was wondering). Then, a bit faster, we were told to write the word psychiatrist. Without any time to write this, we were instructed to write the sentence "I am writing this sentence with my non-dominant hand" and then promptly draw a tree. As one might expect, our papers were full of incomprehensible scribbles. Though I knew that communicating through a near-tangible language barrier will be frustrating and difficult, this exorcise gave me a taste of just how trying it will be. But that's all good, it's all part of the experience, right?

A week later, school ended! This was a bittersweet experience. I don't feel sad about leaving my school - I mean, as long as my high school doesn't spontaneously decide to relocate or completely reconstruct itself, I don't think it will change while I'm gone. But it was strange seeing my brother and one of my very best friends (who's going to Thailand for a gap year, click here for her blog) graduate. I love both of them to death, and it's strange thinking that, when I get back, life with them won't be the same as it is now. But hey, everybody's constantly moving and changing, gravitating towards independence and "the bigger picture" of life. More than I am sad to see them leave, I'm excited to see the truly fantastic things that they'll achieve at Tufts University, in my brothers case, or in Thailand, in Carly's case.

I'm pretty busy for the remainder of the summer. Tomorrow, I'm leaving for a family trip to Europe, which will be fun. We're going to stay in Spain, France (haha...), and England. Throughout all of this, however, I am forced to take online classes to make up for the credits that won't transfer for next year. Honestly, there is literally nothing in this world that I despise more than online classes. Algebra 2B and English 10A might literally be the death of me.

Will Niamh make it to France, or will online classes crush her in a fiery pit of cyber-education? Stay tuned to find out.