C’est incroyable!! C’est déjà presque la fin de novembre !!! Ma vie ici va trop vitement pour moi ! Alors, tout va bien.
This month has gone by UNBELIEVABLY FAST. It feels like October. Or maybe August? Anyways, lycée has been going along like usual. I am way more comfortable with my friends here, and my classes are fairly interesting. (Je crois que j’ai la moyenne dans presque tout !) I found a jazz band that plays with the Ecole de Musique here that I might join, and I can play a sport after school on Wednesday afternoons. I listened to Fred’s advice and I’m trying my best to do things with my friends outside of school, and I’m having a little fête for Thanksgiving next Sunday, and inviting some friends from school to my house for a big traditional American dinner. And I’m more and more a part of the life of my host family. Alain and I watch rugby occasionally which is a sport I find pretty bizarre, and I help Hélène cook sometimes too. Everything feels pretty normal, now, and when I don’t have anything to do I’ll watch TV with Lucie, Pauline, or Gauthier or sit in the cuisine (kitchen, warmer than the reste du château) and read “Harry Potter à L’école des Sorciers.”
And my French is improving like clockwork. I finished Un Secret by Grimbert, and I can read Harry Potter in French without a dictionary. It’s pretty bizarre, because none of the word plays that J.K. Rowling uses exactly work in French, so they changed a bunch of the names. Oliver Wood turned into Olivier Dubois (du bois= of wood), Hogwarts into Poudlard, Professor Snape into Professeur Rogue, and they call magic wands “baguettes magiques,” (which makes for a nice visual image).
I think I can think in French now. I can understand almost everything that everyone says to me, and I’ve been having pretty weird dreams, in French. (one involving mama and papa donating money to a charity and getting new pots and pans, one involving my prof principale du lycée and the exchange student from Brazil at my school, who I’ve never talked to) I used to wake up every morning and be disorientated when Hélène talked to me in French…it used to take a little bit to get used to speaking in French again. But now, I wake up, and it’s French, automatically. (Though I occasionally insert words like ‘the’ and ‘nor’ in my classwork by accident) I thought that this would be harder, language-wise. It’s really not so bad. The language came fairly easily for me, I think. And sure, I’m not Victoria, where French is her….4th language? (Portuguese, Spanish, English, French), but mon français marche pour moi !
I’ve found that I don’t like the French school system as much as I like the one in the U.S. Man, it’s hard! Well, you actually learn something in the classes here, but you choose what you want to be for the rest of your life at the end of middle school. When I changed schools from college to lycée, I chose between “Information Gestion,” another section for people who want to become “ingénieurs,’ and “S.E.S.” (Sciences Economiques et Sociaux, or something like that, supposedly the most ‘prestigious’). And school isn’t required after college, so some people just finish and find a job at 15 and that’s it. I chose S.E.S., and after this year, everyone chooses between L (literature, history, etc.), ES (economics, history, math), or S (science, math, etc.). My prof de S.E.S. made it very clear that if you’re just a “moyenne” (average) student, you can leave. There isn’t room for you at lycée. So everyone in class actually does their homework, and everyone tries to do well. (It’s like being in more than an honors class, without the ‘honors class’) I mean, in the US, even if you don’t succeed in high school, you can still go to college and be, really, whoever you want to be. My anthropology professor last summer left school at 9th grade, and now he has a book published and a doctorate! But in France, not everyone goes to université, and if you do, bonne chance, because it’s really difficult, and a lot of people leave.
Anyways…I’m happy here. I haven’t had any major homesickness bouts since last month. Every once and awhile there’ll be little things: Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright) will play on the radio, and I’ll be really sad and think of Emily’s last birthday party, or someone will say something that reminds a lot of home, but other than that…I haven’t been as close with Lucie since I changed schools, and she seems to be going through a phase of « j’ai marre du monde » But I guess being annoyed by my host siblings means I’m really comfortable with my family, haha. Well, it’s the weekend again, and I have tennis today and homework tomorrow. (a fair amount of sleeping there too…je suis toujours trop fatiguée par le week-end) I don’t really have any GRANDE NOUVELLES to report, because nothing too exciting has happened. I’m excited for Thanksgiving next weekend, and it’s almost December!