Oct 6, 2009

English, French, and everything in between

In rereading my last post, I realized it was a lot of reflection on the month with out a lot of details on what I've actually been doing. If you enjoyed that little foray into my thought process, super! (PS, super is to be pronounced the French way: Pronounced like sue-pear with the emphasis on the second syllable). If you prefer it when I describe in detail what I've been up to, then you're in luck! I have quite a few things to raconte.

Chapitre 1: English

This past weekend was my first AFS get together! On Saturday, after a piano lesson and a trip to the town festival to watch a demonstration of grape-pressing, my host mom dropped me off in Anjou for a weekend with AFS.
At the orientation site

As soon as I got there I saw someone from the NYC and Paris orientations, and we immediately started talking in English. WEIRDEST THING EVER. I couldn't do it! It took me about 15 minutes before I was able to have a fluid conversation. I never would have thought that one month would make such a difference on language skills. I mean, I knew that it would greatly improve my French, but a quarter of an hour just to be able to communicate in my native language? I can only hope this means that I'm adjusting well to France! Anyways, after I got into the swing of things it was amazing being able to actually (correctly) express myself. And it was hilarious to find out what there is in common between the actions of the AFSers (For example, drinking water. It's not just because we're thirsty, we use it as an excuse to move around the house, an excuse to wait and see what others do so we can copy them, and just as a way to avoid awkward situations in general). We broke into small groups at the orientation, and we did activities to reflect on what we've done and project what we wish to do in the future. The groups had people from mixed home countries (mine had 2 other Americans, a boy from New Zealand, a girl from Thailand, and a French girl who was going to go abroad), and it was cool to see how that affected what they missed. After the groups, we played games (a kung-fu game, and a round of something like duck duck goose involving a key) , did energizers, and talked a lot (in English). After dinner, a lot of us hung around and did riddles. The room assignments of the night were completely mixed up by country, and my roommate ended up being a girl from Norway! The next day brought more games (something similar to capture the flag, something similar to sharks and minnows, ans something involving a cowboy hat), more energizers, more English, and a picnic with our host families. By the time my host mom and I left, I had arranged to hang out with AFSers, written a letter to myself, and completely transitioned back into English.

Group shot

Chapitre 2: French

Needless to say, it was difficult to go back to French. However, surprisingly, it was not as hard as it had been to go into English. School has been a little more tiring the past two days due to the switch, though. But the weekend really rejuvenated me, and I have been in better spirits than I was before the weekend. School has passed well, and I've had a lot of fun (in French, none the less!) with my friends at school. I've also realized that when introducing myself, it speeds up comprehension if I attempt a French accent for things like the town name (although, my accent is not really that great, haha). My host mom suggested that tomorrow we start English lessons at the dinner table, so that should be fun.

Chapitre 3: Everything in between

Hmm.... I've been getting decent grades in school (12/20 in History isn't bad considering I don't speak French). There is a very good chance I am going to London in November with school! There was a lottery, and the first 10 people get to go. I was the 11th, but the teacher says that I will most likely get to go! I'm reading the 7th Harry Potter in French, which is proving quiite challenging (Severus Snape = Severus Rogue, Muggles = Moldus, and it took me about 3 chapters to realize Poudlard = Hogwarts). And I think I've almost completely overcome embarrassment at making a fool out of myself (After all, when you've put yourself in a situation where communication skills are lacking and you don't know anyone, you learn to overcome humiliation pretty quickly).

Until next time,


  1. SOOOOPPHHHIIIEEE. dont be homesick. It sucks (trust me. Im right there with you. I havent been home yet this semester). BUT you're meeting new people and getting so many amazing chances! Just remember that we love you soooooooooooo much, and we dont want you to miss us too much. I love you, you little croissant.

  2. Rouge, Rouge, Sev-er-us Rouge....
    (Sorry. Can't help myself.)
    I'm so impressed! Forgetting how to speak English has always been an experience I've wanted to have (I know that sounds weird, but I just think it would be a really unique feeling...)!
    Miss you millions!