vendredi 26 septembre 2008

One month mark

Mission accomplished. Well, a little more than it was 2 days ago. I made a list the other day of things I was going to do to take better advantage of my year in France, (yeah, I make lists…hehe) because I was feeling kind of out of it. The teenagers here aren’t exactly like the teenagers in the US, similar (I think all teenagers around the world are pretty similar), but not quite. Advice to anyone going to France: just give it some time. You’re not going to have immediate friends, but by being friendly, after a couple weeks, you’ll have a couple. I mean, that if you went to the US, tons of people would be really overfriendly and show you around the school and ask you to eat lunch with them, but here, everyone is more laidback, and most people won’t approach you first. You really have to make a conscious effort to make friends. And I think I’ve made a couple! At least started to, anyways. I’ve definitely found a friend in Lucie, my host sister. She’s been pretty awesome showing me around at school, and we’ve been doing homework together and such.

I want to be able to say how France is right now—to sum up the last month. But as always, just when I need the words the most, they won’t come. First of all, Los Angeles is no longer where I’ve lived for 15 years, but what defines me. In Arts-Plastiques (drawing) we had to draw a picture of us—who am I? what do I like? that kind of thing. Without thinking, I started drawing LA, and piano keys along the side. If I was in the US right now, I could say my hobbies were soccer, dancing, girl scouts, LA youth, guitar, knitting, and aquarium-ing. But here, none of that exists. I can’t even say that I like to write, because I can’t creatively write in French. I’m pretty blank here. I mean, it’s not a bad thing. But it’s different.

When I say I come from Los Angeles, they say “Quelle chance!” (what luck!) They all have this idealized version of what LA is, and it’s kind of hilarious. (yes! of course I see movie stars all the time! hehe) But I absolutely love Liginiac and Ussel. They’re these old towns with old houses and flowerbeds on all the balconies. And there are patisseries (bakeries) and little restaurants on every corner. Some of the parents of people you go to school with own boulangeries. The whole atmosphere is pretty charming, because everyone knows (or knows of) everyone who lives nearby.

I should talk about the food too. It’s delicious, to sum it up. I am sincerely hoping I won’t gain weight. Each meal with my host family has about 2-3 “courses” I guess you could say. (they aren’t huge portions in the “courses”) First, we’ll have some kind of vegetable (tomato salad, or soup, for example), and then something with meat and a starch (chicken and pasta) and then cheese (camembert, goat’s cheese, I am a fan of brie) and then dessert (yogurt or fruit, or on special occasions a gateau). Even the cafeteria food at the cantine at college is WAY better than American cafeteria food. No hamburgers/cheese covered fried stuff. They have pasta and vegetables and meat and yogurt and general goodness. And you know how everyone thinks that there aren’t any overweight people in France? They’re wrong.

Hm…what else to say? I don’t know. Oh, never say “Je suis pleine” (literal translation: I am full) because it really means that you are a female cow, and you are going to give birth. Marion informed me of that a couple days ago…so I didn’t have to go through the embarrassment of saying something like that…

Mostly, it’s pretty strange to think that I’ve been here for a whole month already, because it really doesn’t feel like it. (Yesterday after dinner, Helene brought a yaourt with a candle in it, and reminded me I’ve been here for exactly a month!) And if the rest of the months are like this, I’m happy. And I have things to look forward to too: maybe going to a lycee instead of a college (that’s a different, more complicated, and less interesting story), Paris at Christmas, Ping-Pong class during lunch every Friday, the AFS outing planned for this weekend at Montaubon, going um….the equivalent of jumping off a cliff with one of those elastic rope things attached, with Marion and Lucie in October, dinner tomorrow, History class (we’re learning about the American elections, and I am therefore doing very well)—everything. I’m more and more excited for my continuing life in France.

mercredi 3 septembre 2008


I'm finally here....after the AFS camps, both in New York (which was almost horrible, by the way), and in France (which wasn't).

The days have been passing by...and they seem a lot longer here. Everyone wakes up at 6 or 7 for school (which I 'll talk a bit more about later), eat lunch around 12, 13h00, then eats dinner around 21h00, then goes to bed. They're house is beautiful... and everyone has been really nice to me, even though my french really isn't what I expected and I don't understand much at all. When I think about it, it's really the little things that make France so...awesome. I am in love with here. The other day, I sat out in their backyard, and Gautier plopped one of the many cats in my lap. Pretty much, it pooped all over my jeans--and it was just too funny. ( You know those moments when you're really embarrassed, but when you think about it, it's really pretty funny) Lucie and I couldn't stop laughing. And when we drove in the car to go canoeing and canyoning (a excursion), they played a french song, and then that oldie 'Satisfaction' and Alain sang along. Alain has been talking in a strange mix of english and french ( he studied in wyoming for a couple years, but his english has since deteriorated), and when we went canyoning (rock climbing) he was trying to help me, but he kept mixing up the words 'left' and 'right.' And I've been really confused mind-wise, and most of the time, I can't remember whether someone said something to me in english or french....
The little things that are just.....funny about france:
  • they eat fromage and pain with everything
  • when I ordered pizza in a restaurant, they came out with a whole pizza on a plate for me
  • there's a waffle in the vending machine
  • the mailwoman knows everyone's name in the town
  • Charlotte (3) has a different cut little dress to where everyday, and she loves Indiana Jones movies
  • Gautier tries to be helpful, by repeating what everyone says very slowly for me
  • People smile and wave when you drive by, and they don't know you
  • they think it's just hilarious to eat eggs for breakfast
  • there are little villages everywhere and all of htem are the length of about one street in LA

School started yesterday too. It put it mildly CONFUSING. We took a big charter bus to much I didn't understand anything, but Lucie is in the same class as me, so she was really helpful. My P.E. teacher thought it was very interesting that I was from the US, and he made us walk 2 blocks, then gave us candy. Pretty much, the whole day was WHOOSH (that was it going over my head). But today, the seocnd day of school, was much better. I could understand a bit more, and I had english class, and music. (Singing! required singing class! I think we learn some recorder in there too).

But I'm taking 10 classes overall: French, english, spanish, math, physics/chemistry, biology, history, drawing, music, P.E., and Technology. And ALL of that is required!! I am definitely thinking about all the requirements I can get out of the way. haha...

In the meantime, everyone thinks it's quite a novelty to be from LA, and all the girls in my class have been asking if there are 'beautiful boys there.' I tell me. =P

I love it, and I miss you.