It’s the middle of March. Which is pretty strange. I know I always say that—but it’s really very strange. I almost feel like this year has been a dream or something—It really feels like a REALLY LONG august or something. As though I left LA a week ago and I’ll be returning in a week or so.
Yesterday Helene made a gateau de murs (mur = a kind of blackberry/mulberry type fruit) and all the chateau smelled like…murs. I felt really bizarre, because it was as though the smell called up a distant memory. I’ve smelled this scent before, but where? Once I thought about it a bit more—it’s what the chateau smelled like when I arrived in August. When I first arrived, I went with Helene to pick murs, and she made confiture (jam) with the murs that we picked. I associate the smell with the first couple weeks of complete confusion. But also with the excitement that I had the first week or two—it was so beautiful, here, it was so wonderful, here, everything was different and amazing. It’s funny to think I’ve been here for 7 months. The longest I’ve ever been away from home! But once you’re here for this long—this kind of becomes home. I’m no longer a guest au chateau! (I haven’t been for awhile)
Anyways, for my birthday, mama sent me a packet of cards. It was the most amazing birthday present I’ve ever gotten. I got a card from EVERYONE. Everyone in girl scouts, lariats, the aquarium, Allie and Chris, and all of my friends from school and elsewhere. Nicole got everyone to sign a card at school—which just makes me smile—I’m trying to imagine Nicole getting all the random people to sign: Charles Kim from my bio class last year, Ms. Derdzinske, Micah and Ted. Emily sent me cards and pictures and a marvelous Giant Robot t-shirt. I feel loved by everyone at home, and everyone here (man, I just feel loved in general). hehe, but it’s true. I have some really good friends in LA, who I love incredibly, and who I miss a lot. Even though I’m not quite ready to leave yet, I really can’t wait to see everyone in July.
The week of my birthday was maybe one of the best weeks I’ve had since I’ve arrived in France. Everyone sang to me for my birthday (accompanied with lighters in one case, haha) and when I got home, Helene made brownies for my gateau d’anniversaire, and I got a pretty pair of earrings, a book of conjugaison, a card from Lucie, and a book about chiens from Gautier. And after that it was just a good week—one of those weeks that go a lot faster than expected. On Thursday, we finished at 3 comme habitude, and so we went to the café and each drank two glasses of (ok, I don’t really remember what that was? alcoholic beverage?), and we were all a little more…relaxed? hehe…So we went to the park in Ussel—le parc de la mairie, and sat down at the stone table at the top of a hill. It’s really an awesome place—you can see all of Ussel (the church and all the buildings around it, and then the campagne in the distance). Charlie brought his guitar, and he played and we sang. On Friday we finished at 2, so we went to the café (didn’t drink, really, this time) and then went to the table en pierre again. (Pierre = stone) It was awesome to just talk a little bit with Noemie and Charlie. And we changed my birthday party to next weekend, because ‘Lol’ played at Meymac yesterday, (which we all really wanted to see). And it was fantastic. The movie is just about a girl au lycee—with boyfriend problems and friend problems and family problems. At the end, she gets together with her best friend, Mael (hot French guy who plays guitar), and everything pretty much works out. It was hilarious, and I guess it could say something pretty concrete about who most teenagers in France want to be…to be an ideal girl who parties with a boyfriend that looks like one of those guys in the Kooks? Maybe.
To sum it up: I’m happy. Just plain happy. I remember reading that book about “your exchange experience” or whatever that was written by that lady with AFS, and about how most people went through the same stages: arrival excitement, culture fatigue, getting used to it a little bit, holiday depression, then culture adaptation, etc. They show you a chart that shows how your feelings go up, down, up slowly, down slowly, then gradually rise and rise as you adapt to the culture. But when I really think about it—mine was never really like that. Mine would look less like a mountain than it does a lightning bolt. It’s kind of funny to think about it. Mais c’est pas grave, the little line keeps going up and up from here, and I’m sure of it!
So, that’s it really. Frede, the AFS Correze coordinator is organizing so I can go to Marseille the next vacation, and stay with a temporary host family or someone with AFS. Which would be amazing. (I want to see Marseille more than ANYTHING). And Victoria and Miyu visit the weekend of the 28th this month….and I have to study for a test in English tomorrow (the easier of my classes) and yes! bye!