Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Exist

I realize it has been nearly three months since I've posted anything. I apologize. I should probably promise to post more frequently, but the truth is I probably wont. And that's not a bad thing! In fact, I take it as a sign of my thriving french lifestyle (I say at 4 o'clock in the afternoon - still in my pyjamas). I've been so busy complying with french normalcy, that I haven't found the time to write about it. In fact, writing about it seems bizarre - as we don't generally document commonalities. 

So I shall make a list of basically everything I've done in the past months:

-Established myself as part of my host family 

-Made friends
      This is mostly thanks to my amazing host school. Coming from a school of 2,000 people and going to a school of 300 was a strange adjustment for me, but I couldn't not be happier with the company that I'm in. Every single person in my class (premiere) is kind and open, making adjusting to this world of new faces a little bit easier. 

-Learned how to make some french desserts 
     My chocolate mousse is becoming mousse-ier in the fridge as we speak

-Eaten enough to feed the entirety Europe

-Progressed in French
     I would say that I'm about conversational in french. My grammar isn't all there, my vocabulary isn't the best, but I can get a point across all the same. I now use verb tenses (which, for me, is an achievement), and I've even started to attempt to work on my french accent. 

-Been to all the big cities of Nord-Pas-de-Calais 
     Lille - my favorite city of all time
     Valenciennes - also pretty cool
     Maugbeuge - embarrassing in comparison to the other two

-Started to participate in classes
    I am in the Literature track, meaning that I take  French, French Literature, History, Euro (European history taught in english), SVT (biology), Physics/Chemistry, and three different types of English. But because I'm an exchange student who is bored by the 8 hours of english which she must endure each week, I've started taking SES (social economic sciences) in place of some of my english classes. 

-Started to do homework/take tests
    Homework in France doesn't quite amount to the sometimes 6 hours of homework that I would do nightly in the US. Here - an hour and a half is groan-worthy. I've been doing what I can. Obviously I'm not the most active participant in French Literature (I generally sit in the corner and translate french documents into english), but I have managed to scrape by in history, my science classes, SES, and, of course, english. I can proudly say that I did not get the worst grade on an SVT essay the other day! 

-Gone to many an AFS gathering
     I've found that AFS France is a rather lovely association. Though every gathering tends to consist of a lot of repeating things us AFS-ers already know, AFS genuinely does care about the well-being of it's students. My AFS chapter is quite proactive, which involves getting up early at least once a month on a saturday to go hiking, explore a city, or just gathering for the sake of consuming french food. Though the activities we do can be boring, I've made some amazing friends with the other AFS-ers in my region, and I look forward to seeing them at least once a month.

Time has been moving quicker than I have ever imagined possible. In exactly one week one of my best friend's in France - Nicole, an exchanges student from Bulgaria - will be going home after completing her tri-mester program here. In her place, three other students will be coming for two months. But... what? That's not possible! It hasn't been three months, it's been three weeks. I realize that soon, four months will have passed, and then five, and then ten. Even from right now, I feel as though a giant clock is ticking away at the minutes I have left in this country.

After the first two weeks or so, homesickness virtually didn't exist for me. I'm not sure if it'll re-commence, but for now, I just feel a constant need to be learning the language and getting as much out of the culture as I can. 

Speaking of which, I have some chocolate mousse to eat. 

A bientôt