Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Home Is Where the Heart Is

I really am starting to feel like France is my home. I guess it has just been in the past of couple of weeks. It goes like this:
I guess I think about some home-related topic-- something that I miss about the US, and get a little feeling of nostalgia. But then all of a sudden, I realize all of the hundreds of little things that I love about France, that I never noticed before, and that I don't ever want to let go of. And then I understand that even though I might be "homesick" occasionally, it is never a dire need to go back to the US. In addition, when I start to get little feelings of longing for my old life, another odd phenomenon commences. I am getting "pre-host-country-sick." This is a very odd concept. It pretty much means that I start to think about me being back in the US in my head, and then I start missing things from France, even though I am still in France. I am almost like a child with separation anxiety. The departure is inevitable, but I know that I I'll be crying and unprepared quand-même.
I feel like now I would be perfectly content to stay here... forever... hehe. Maybe that is an exaggeration. I would like to see my family and friends again. XD But people aside, the way of life here has become so normal to me that I don't know how I will react when I go back the the States.
I guess my thought for the week has just been more about home, and how much my perception of it has varied from the beginning of my stay to now.

In other news, I read another book for my French class in French (Well, no duh it was in French). I am getting more into the written side of the language because it is soooo massively helpful with grammar and therefore affects all aspects of my use of French. Just for fun I have started reading Romeo and Juliet. It is a version with French on one page and English on the other. Oh, how that helps when trying to decode the cryptic art that is Shakespeare. I have to say, it is much more straight forward in French. Haha.
New word time!!! "une querelle," meaning a quarrel. Hooray!
Also in French class news, I have my first essay to write. Oh boy... at least I have three weeks.

Moving right along, I have to say that school goes by very fast here. Friday at four o'clock, I am on VACATION! For two whole weeks. Wow... that is amazing. Two weeks for ski break?! They really take their free time seriously here, I guess. :) Et j'en profite... We will be going skiing for one week in the Alps... I am very excited! Haven't been skiing for so long!

What was that other thing I wanted to mention...? I had some friends over Saturday! It was great and we failed at making cupcakes. But whatever. The process was fun... Urggggggggg. What was it I wanted to say?? French food is delicious? They have lots of expression to indicate that they are annoyed? I dunno. I forget. If I happen to remember, I shall post it.

I REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!! It is actually kinda a lot to say... :/ But I shall say it anyway! Yesterday, after having had many a failure in this respect, I finally asked Pia some questions of pronunciation. She is my go to girl for language troubles. Depuis je suis arrivée en France, j'ai eu du mal à prononcé le difference entre "ou" et "u," et "or" et "our." This is quite entertaining sometimes. As in me saying there are more sheep in New Zealand than people came out to sound like there are more mutants in New Zealand than people. Hmmm... Also, when I said I bought a cute sweater yesterday, it sounded like I had bought a cute chicken. Uhhh... And finally, my personal favorite, was a couple days ago, when Pia thought I said death instead of love (la mort and l'amour, respectively.) So I came to Pia with this question, and she actually was able to help me a lot. I think I am on my way to having a better French accent... hehe.

An opposite version of this is the fact that in my English class, my awesome British teacher brought up a subject that I find quite coincidental the other day... The students' pronunciation of saw, raw, jaw, four, more, war, etc. They tend to pronounce it like this:
Raw, saw, and jaw become row, sew, and Joe.
Four, more, and war are better, but kinda difficult with the use of the English "r," therefore it kinda turns out like fouw, mouw, etc.
But it is funny, because I had actually noticed this before. When I first got here and we would get on the topic of films, there would always be this question, "Have you seen the movie sew?" ... ... "Uh... no? What's it about?" "Well, it's this dude who takes people and tortures them and stuff..." ... "OHHHHH!!!!!! Sawwwww!" Many a lol escaped my throat in those first few months. But I shouldn't be one to laugh at people's accents by any means.

In fact, I found this awesome, to know that it isn't only me struggling with the various nuances of another language.

A bientôt!
Carly

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's about time for another one of these... :D

So, I guess in the past couple of weeks I haven't done many spectacular things... but I am really ok with that. I am realizing how well I have adapted to being here... to understanding the culture better and the language. To making new friends and stepping outside of my comfort zone sometimes. To everything pretty much... And it makes me feel happy. I can't even start to explain the amount of change I have gone through in this past five months. It is insane! And right now, I think I only really notice half of it. I feel like being back in the States will make me realize the rest.

Anyhow. Although I am really happy right now, there is one thing in the back of my mind. Time. Still. The semester kids went home last week. I miss them already. :( But not only was it a sad parting, also it was an epiphany moment. If they are going home... that means I have gotten through half of my exchange. Hold it... I AM HALF WAY THROUGH MY EXCHANGE??!!!? That is pretty much what I have been thinking for the past week. I know I already touched on this subject, but just... yeah. It hasn't left my head.

In terms of events in the last two weeks, well, I have two notable stories! The first was this past Sunday, the 30th (Also the day the semester kids left... :( ). I went to a hockey game! And better yet, it wasn't just any hockey game, but the final for the French Hockey Cup. Yay! It was Angers v. Rouen, and since Manon lives in Rouen, of course I had to root for them (Although I feel like there was an AFSer placed in Angers...)!! :D It was such a fun experience. I guess sports are an international language, because almost everything was the same as in the US. The kiss cam, the little chants and half-time (one-thirds time, actually) randomness. I had a great time. Only complaint, the cheerleaders kinda ... sucked. Hehe. I have to say that our cheerleaders at LGHS are better than these ones. XD But anywho, it was awesome.

The other thing of interest is that yesterday I went to Versailles (again!). But this time it was extra special... "Why" you may ask? Well, because my awesome Aunt Judi and Uncle Chip from Utah happened to be in town. And I got to see them!!! I am pretty sure it was the only relative visit I'll get while I am here, so I took advantage of it. We decided to see the gardens because it wasn't horribly cold (like the days before), so we ended up seeing the Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette's part of the palace), and exploring the area around there, which happened to be so huge we got lost a couple of times... But even though we were quite directionally challenged and had a matter of mix-ups, it was a wonderful afternoon that I will always remember! After the endeavor, the three of us went into a cute little café and I got a chocolat chaud. We talked some more, and then had to say goodbye. Altogether an awesome day.

I guess that concludes all of the interesting things that have happened in the gap between blog posts, but I have something else kind of random I want to say. I can hate an aspect of the French culture one minute, and then the next minute Love it with all my heart for the same reasons... It is an odd concept. But I guess I am having to realize that a culture is a culture, and that what makes these cultures great is that each country and even each little area within a country has its own little mannerisms, expressions, ways of life, food, dialect, and so much more, and it makes every place so unique. For the most part I end up loving the French and their façons de vivre, because it has become my new world. Going back will be hard...

-Carly