Over a year ago, I sat at my kitchen table, staring at my blank AFS application page, dreaming of this moment. And now here I am, en France.
This past week and a half has been overwhelming, exciting, gloomy at times, and oddly routine.
It started what feels like ions ago, when I said a tearful goodbye to by parents at the airport last Wednesday, and boarded a plane headed to New York for my gateway orientation.
I shall say this for both the orientations: they were definitely not what I expected. I felt, the entire time, to be in a strange limbo between two worlds: my home, and the unknown realm of Bellignies, France. Everyone was slightly on edge, slightly uncomfortable, anxious to meet new people and yet nervous at the same prospect. In large dining halls we would mingle, skipping from person to person, giving the same pitch- showcasing ourselves for each other with a summary of our most interesting attributes.
I also didn't expect to be so tired all the time. For the duration of the orientations, I was motivated to partake in AFS activities only by the prospect of maybe having a chance to sleep afterwards. But I did make some great friends, and I appreciated the orientation process as a whole. However, it feels great to be settled down, my bags un-packed, with a bed of my own to sleep in.
I met my host family on Sunday. I'd worried about meeting my host family since I applied for AFS last year. What if they're mean? Don't like me? Smell bad? It turns out that my host family is the best I could possibly have hoped for. They're eager to share their culture with me, explain what I don't understand, and help me learn how to live in this new country. My host sister and I are good friends, and my favorite time of the day is when I get home and can talk to my host parents. In short, any fears I've ever had about my host family have been completely extinguished.
I started school the day after I arrived in Bellignies. School has not been as easeful as living with my host family has proven to be. The language barrier between me and my friends makes it difficult to connect with them- which makes me miss my friends in the US. That being said, everyone is extremely nice, and I enjoy sitting in classes and listening to my teachers speak in rapid french. Though I don't understand much, I still appreciate the language, and can't wait for the day when I can understand all of what's being said. Go French! woohoo!
Well... that's what's been up with me. I'll try to post pictures sometime (as I have taken many), unless I forget, in which case I shall probably post none. But for now, I'm going to sleep so I can get up nice and early for school tomorrow!