It seems that change is in the air. For one thing, I chopped my hair off. It was time. I had been sporting my long hair for far too long, and I told myself that during my year abroad, I would get a fresh new 'do. So voila! new hair, new moi.
So, I am a really lucky fille because my mom came to visit!!! For the second time! This time she brought along our good friend (also named Chris) and we traveled Paris and Bordeaux together. It's been great hanging out with them, hearing stories from home and showing them around my city. The only problem is the weather lately has been terrible...rain and wind every day. They have been quite the troopers though, putting up with this storm and willing to go out anyway.
In Paris we did the tourist routine and saw the important stuff. It's so hard to cram everything in in just a matter of a few days! You really need a lot of time and energy to see all there is to see in Paris, and even if you have both of those, I believe it takes many times of re-visiting the city to do everything you want to. Even after many times of going back myself, there are countless things I still haven't done. But at the same time, I actually felt pretty comfortable in Paris this time around, rather than being totally overwhelmed and confused and stressed like before. It was cool to have a feel for it, to be able to ride the metro without making mistakes, to speak French without being responded to in English. Maybe after a few more times I can pretend to be a real Parisienne! That is my excuse for having to revisit :) there is something about that city that I am in love with. Yep, just stamp 'hopeless romantic' across my forehead.
Some highlights of Paris:
|Winged Victory at the Louvre|
|Maman and I at the Louvre|
|Tour Eiffel :)|
After Paris we came back to Bordeaux. Unfortunately it was even worse weather :( but we still made the most of it. Today we went to Saint Emillion, a beautiful town outside of Bordeaux famous for its wine. We were lucky to have no rain and even a little bit of sun there! It was my mom's last day, so it was a great way to end her trip and stock up on some quality wine. Having my mom come to visit really meant a lot to me. Sometimes I forget how much I miss home and everyone in my life in California, and my mom being here was a reminder of how important your roots are. I feel like I've established a new life here in France but I can never forget what's most important. Ok I'll stop before I get too sappy.
....and I got lazy with taking pictures, so none from Bordeaux. Maybe I'll add some later.
On to other things... as you may have forgotten, I do go to school here in Bordeaux. If it seems like I don't mention it, it's because it is the least exciting part of my life here. But, it is almost over! I have one exam left, which is in a week (yikes!!!!) Then I can officially say my studies abroad are fini. I've actually been done with classes for quite a while, now it's just exam time. After it's done, I can focus on the important things: getting in every last picnic, quiz night, and adventure before I leave.
And traveling of course! My friends are arriving in about a month and then we're off to Paris, Amsterdam, Spain and Portugal. It will be a whirlwind adventure and I'm so ready for it. I can hardly wait!
These are my 2 besties who I'll be traveling with: :)
On speaking francais:
Many of my friends ask me if I'm fluent in French yet. I just laugh because I know I am so far off from being fluent. It would probably take years of living in France to achieve that, but at the same time, I know I have made significant progress. That's another reason I'm so hesitant to go back home- I feel that I have finally gotten comfortable with speaking and now I just have to turn around and revert back to English. but I'm going to try really really hard to keep up my French back in California, even if I have to just talk to myself! Anyway, I think learning French came in stages. When I first arrived, I quickly learned to correct my mistakes and to say basic and useful phrases. As time went on, I picked up more expressions and expanded my vocabulary. Recently, I've improved on familiar ways of speaking and slang (which always cracks the frenchies up since I usually say it wrong). It's cool to track my progress and remember how I sounded in the beginning, compared to now. My strongest language is definitely Franglais.
I've been thinking about my return home a lot lately. I'm mostly nervous because coming home means that my year abroad, which has been my focus ever since I started taking French, is coming to an end. As of now I don't have any set goals or a clear direction of what I want to do with my life. It's a scary thing knowing that I'm supposed to graduate college in a year...and then what? The end of this adventure brings up a lot of scary questions. I guess that's normal for everyone my age, but I really hope things fall into place. I have a strong feeling that coming back to France is in the stars for me :)
But at the same time, I am extremely super hella stoked to get back to beautiful California and see everyone and everything that I've missed. I'm sure it will be a trip to re-learn American ways of life and my friends will have to fill me in on all the culture I've missed. I'm especially missing my big fat bundle of joy Buddy:
Not to mention all the food I've desperately been missing, like In n Out, chinese food, breakfast (hash browns!!!!), mexican food,.... I have to stop before I start going crazy. I know I'm being a stereotypical food-obsessed American right now, but to the frenchies reading this blog, le bon vin et le fromage vous manqueront aussi, n'est-ce pas? ;)
Basically, there's the upside and the downside to all things in life. If you get caught up in it too much, you'll miss the ride :) which is the best part! So on that note, I will assure you that I'm making the most out of every day that remains. Vive la France!!!!! I love and miss you all. See you very soon! :)