So, I got my visa! It was a lot easier than planned. We went to the consulate once, and had to wait for about 2 hours, but then just gave them the paperwork, and then got a sticker to put in my passport! (French visas are so pretty too! Green and glittery and such). A lot of the girls who were there getting a visa for their exchange with Rotary were having tons of trouble. They didn't have all the papers, and they kept having to come back, and so on. Well, my mom spoke to the consulate-guy in french (that may have helped somewhat), and AFS gave us all the papers we needed, so it was no trouble at all! Yay!
And I also got a copy of my host family's application, that talked about their interests, personalities, and details. My host father is an artisan, and my host mother a librarian. They live in a large house in the countryside, and have a garden and swimming pool. The atmosphere of the family is calm, and they have a regular schedule. No one smokes, and they are Catholic, but not regularly. Their pets include dogs, cats, horses, and hamsters.
Helene wrote "Aude is the artist of the family, Marion is more intellectual, Lucie is talkative. Pauline is mysterious, Louis is a dreamer (he wants to be baker, he cooks). Gautier is moving all the time. Arthur and Charlotte are very noisy....Lucie and Pualine like horse riding. They practice it sometimes with Alain and Aude. Louis and Gautier like motorbiking. They do that with Alain. They also like soccer. Aude and Marion like to go shopping, but there are not a lot of shops nearby. "
I have also started shopping and pre-packing....and trying to find presents to give my host family. My host family has a piano: an old out-of-tune one, and a keyboard (they said if I wanted to play on another piano they could arrange with a neighbor to play on theirs), so I can practice. I had my last piano and guitar lessons the other day....and I have music to learn by myself while there. (Thanks Natasha!) My last day of volunteering at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium was on the 9th. It's all coming to a close, really.
I had one week of backpacking in Yosemite, and now I have 4 days until I leave. (Today is the 15th) It's just incredibly crazy-sounding now. I'm having a kind of unofficial going away party in 2 days, and then...whoa. I think about who will or will not come, and I find that it might not make a difference, if people I love are there, and I have a good time. It'll be interesting to see who I stay in touch with while in France, (who will try to stay in touch, when I may not be able to do so often). And I don't think anyone really understands how this feels, at the moment (unless you are leaving for France in 4/5 days also!). I want to be able to say goodbye to everyone, and I want to be able to be sad when I leave...but mostly I'm just a little confused. I'm going? Really? For a year?
Eh...enough talk. I need to pack.