"When good Americans die, they go to Paris." - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 27, 2011

God Evens Out the Playing Field

I'm updating via my BB because my computer crashed this morning. This weekend was very eventful, but I can't write a long post because this tiny keyboard is difficult to maneuver. This whole situation sucks, but my life has been going too well lately so I figure God had to mess it up so people wouldn't get too jealous. I mean, I'm in France with an amazing host family (who tried for hours to fix my computer), a loving boyfriend back home, and I've made a lot of great friends here. So it's all good.

Yesterday we toured three chateaus of the region. I will post pictures as soon as I have a computer again. Afterward, we ate dinner in Angers and went out to the bars. I fell down the staircase and into the arms of a French man. The most embarrassing aspect is that I wasn't drunk; I was simply a klutz who didn't see the last stair. But I'm sure everyone thought I was some drunk American girl. No worries.

After two LARGE beers and some sangria, I made it to McDoner (again) since Nikki wanted food. The man saw me texting my boyfriend and teased me, saying "Aw, I love you!" the rest of the night. So typical. We went home afterwards, but I stayed up 'til 3:30. I need more late nights like that one.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live and Learn, and Then Get Excited

When I first started communicating with my host family I told them I was exictée to meet them. I said this several times via email and Berry always responded with we are "ravis" to meet you too. I didn't understand why she didn't use excités, but I soon learned from example to not use that word.

Today I learned why. Apparently, you only use exciter to express sexual arousal. So basically I've been going around saying that I'm sexually aroused by France. This may or not be true, but God knows I shouldn't be yelling that.

Ah, well. I guess you live and learn. People make all kinds of stupid mistakes when they move abroad. It's just part of the learning process.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ice Cream and Wine

Tonight at dinner Mme. said she was going to wash my draps tomorrow morning. Then the family started talking about the English word, sheets. Except when François said sheets, he spoke quickly and bounced in his chair, squealing "Shit! Shit!"

Berry and I started rollin', but the rest of the family didn't catch it. Mme. laughed anyway. I probably laughed a little longer than necessary because I had just thrown back a glass of wine and devoured an ice cream cone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

People Who Remind Me of Other People

For lunch I ate at my favorite pasta place. The chef recognizes me now and greeted me with, "Bonjour, ma puce!" Now, I remember ma puce meaning "my dear" from the Pierre days. For those of you who don't know (although I'm pretty sure everyone does) I dated a Frenchman for two months. I think all women should have at least one tragic foreign love affair in their lives. It really is a cultural experience.

In fact, I had a cappuccino with my friend Lien after class. After phonétique practique, I had planned on getting an Orangina (STILL CRAVING) and waiting for the rain to pass before trekking home, but when she invited me out I thought, What the hell. She talked about how her exes from home are telling her they miss her and she hates their bad timing. "I need someone here, a French boy." Then I told her about Pierre.

She was pretty stunned and wanted to know all about it. I mean, everyone seems really impressed when I talk about it. But yeah, yeah it lasted two months and he was a party boy. You don't want to be dating one of those when you're in a transcontinental relationship.

Anyways, I like this chick. When I asked how her weekend in Paris was, she said, "Comment dit-on 'black out'?"

In other news, I'm starting to feel like Marie Antoinette because I'm eating a five-course dinner every night and my boyfriend is slowly starving to death. I feel guilty because it's my fault. He spent a lot of money on his passport and he's saving up to visit me in Paris. It's all very romantic and typical of my life, but I feel like at 20-years-old I shouldn't be pushing men into poverty. But I guess that's what I've been doing to my dad all my life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thoughts on a Sunday

I've been thinking today, something I don't usually do on Sundays. I woke up sweating this morning (again). Not sure why, but I've been suffering from night sweats since I got here. Anyways, I checked the time and realized I hadn't slept as late as I had wanted. I was hot, sticky, and felt that familiar achy yearning in my chest. Today is the first time I've felt homesick in awhile, and I'm not sure what triggered it.

I started thinking about home, about what it would be like to walk around Asheville in a few months. What comparisons would I make between there and France? How much would I miss France? How much would I miss my family? I imagined sitting in Karpen Hall, thinking about how far away my French family was, how I might not see them again (international travel always leaves a sense of finality.) and I grew sad. Sad before I realized I was laying in bed only several feet away from Berry's room. Yes, I'm here now.

I remember weeping the day I left the States, and my dad said, "Gabi, I know you're crying now, but you know what? In June, you're gonna be crying to leave." And I can sense the truth in this. When I left Italy last summer, I bawled for hours the night before. It's like leaving a fairy tale. And the more I think about leaving France, the more I think my transition back home is going to be incredibly difficult. I have so much me time here, but I'm going to be thrown into a horrible semester when I return. A senior class double major = two senior dissertations, one in French, one 20-pager in English. How can I deal with my numerous responsibilities on top of being torn away from France, the trip I had dreamt about forever?!

God, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Several months ahead. But thinking like this helps me realize how lucky I am to be here and how I need to enjoy every minute, like the ones I'm about to share with my family when I eat croque-monsieurs with them tonight.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Wish I Had an IV of Queso Dip...Or Cidre

Today we traveled to Bretagne with CIDEF and visited St. Malo and Mont St. Michel. Bretagne is known for their pommes, and more importantly, their cidre. My friends and I ate pastries and sat by a fireplace in a warm pub. We sipped cidre and the barkeeper spoke to us in English.

I nodded off on the drive to Mont St. Michel. Only twenty people live there and I can't decide how they feel. They're either the happiest people on earth (because the île is stunning) or the unhappiest (because of all the tourists). We were rushed around the island since we only had two hours and we spent one of them touring the abbey.

After a long day, the girls and I ended up at McDoner (duh). Now Berry is throwing her friend a birthday party downstairs. I'm honored she invited me because she kicked out the rest of her family. No, really. I have no idea where they are. Everyone was super nice when I greeted them with my windswept hair and bloodshot eyes. I told Berry I was super tired so I was gonna chill in my room. I hate being lame but I don't have the energy to attempt speaking French...and the frîtes are starting to settle.

Anyways, Berry asked if she could borrow the couch in my room since her friends were spending the night. She came upstairs to get it and I found a letter from my boyfriend. He had sent me one for Valentine's Day and had included a poem he wrote in French. Am I the luckiest or what.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When It's Okay to Take Candy from Strangers

Today was good, real good. I don't know why, nor do I care. It is what it is. All this in spite of the fact that my alarm didn't go off this morning and I was almost late to class. Attendance here is pretty strict, at least for langue (the equivalent of American homeroom). If you miss, you have to notify the secrétariat. I'm not sure how strict the other classes are, but if you miss exams or quizzes you can't make them up, so I'm not willing to test it.

Also, I got cat-called on the way to school. I was baffled because I wasn't wearing any make-up, like whatchu lookin' at? For real, not much, boys. I'm disgusting.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. After my first class, Liana, Amy, and I had a long break so we hit up our favorite pasta place for lunch. They put crème fraiche in everything so it's extra terrible for you (read: extra dank). The little chef is adorable and so friendly. He gave us free candy after we finished and wished us a bonne journée.

Tonight we might be getting drinks. I could really use an overpriced Long Island Iced Tea, but we'll see what happens.

Au revoir.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Poultry Liver (Again) and French Cosmopolitan

Yep. I bought a French Cosmo today at the Monoprix. This should really improve my vocabulary.

In other news, my host family tricked me into eating poultry liver again. WTF. François asked if I liked paté and when I responded with a baffled look (Qu'est-ce que c'est?) he laughed. That should have been the first clue. But M. didn't tell me what it was until I put it in my mouth. "It's leever." He said.

I was so shocked/terrified that I had to endure this again that I said (a little to loud) in English, "LIKE THE GOOSE?"

"Oui." Then he gave me a list of all the birds that had been eviscerated for this paté.

On another note, Leah and I found the Bibliotheque Anglophone today and I now have a free place to rent English books! Unfortunately they did not have any Sedaris books, so I'm going to either a) nag my father to send mine from home or b) order some online. It's all good though, because the bibli had three shelves of Stephen King novels and I've been reading diligently all day. Further, I think France has some obsession with Oscar Wilde because I see his books everywhere. It makes me love the French even more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

David Sedaris Saved My Life

I'm stressed because I have nine pages left in When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I brought it over so I'd have something to read on the plane, but the book became a necessity when I was homesick during my first week.

Sedaris is comedic, and it was nice to laugh and read something in English. In addition, I've concluded that he's the gay, male version of me. He's lived abroad in so many different cities (Paris, Tokyo, Normandy) and reading his stories gives me a hilarious outlook on life outside the U.S. As lonely as it can be, it's definitely an incredible experience with many opportunities for screw-ups and good times.

For example, when Sedaris decided to quit smoking, he changed his environment and moved to Tokyo for three months (wtf). He talks about the language barrier and how he wanted to cry after his first Japanese language exam. While French is hard, at least we use the same alphabet. And the food here is dank. Of course I feel displaced at times, but I'm still in the Western Hemisphere.

I'm not sure what else to say here. On the way home I had this great blog prepared for the wonderful Mr. Sedaris and now it's all gone to hell. I can't stay awake.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Less-Than-Romantic Valentine's Day in France

As far as Valentine's Day goes, today has been pretty depressing. I'm in France on the most romantic holiday of the year, but alas, my boyfriend and I are separated by an ocean. Le sigh.

I didn't get out of class until 6 PM, but I was finally placed into the right courses. I'm taking histoire de l'art, phonétique, langue, and histore de France, which has already proved baffling. Today I sat silently begging the professor not to call on me. At which point I would have either projectile vomited or burst into tears.

Oh, well. I actually have homework tonight. Last week's homework was real cute, but this seems a little more legit. We'll see.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Uncensored Friday Night Abroad

I debated about whether I'd update about last night because I know a large volume of people read my blog. My philosophy with writing is to always be honest, even if it's offensive or mortifying or scary. So here it is: an uncensored Friday night abroad.

Amy, Liana, Leah, Nikki, and I commenced our night by pre-gaming at the house and eat cheese and bread. We have yet to figure out the good cheeses, and one of them smelled like a toilet seat. After swapping stories, we went out to a few bars.

I saw Berry at her boyfriend at James Joyce and said hello. We took tequila shots and someone spilled beer all over my jacket. We left without a buzz and ended up at the marché again. Amy and Nikki bought some tall, lethal can of beer (7% alcohol) and I drank some Amsterdam beer that was 8.4%.

We walked on Marchel Foch and the girls stopped for a smoke. My feet hurt and I wanted frîtes. By this time we were quite drunk, so we walked down Bressigny for food. An adorable French boy stopped up when he heard we spoke English. He asked if we were from the U.S. and if we knew Eva or something. We said no and asked who she was.

"Oh, she is very beautiful. She is from the States and I am looking for her." That was a little too cute.

We made it to McDoner and the MiddleEastern kebab man argued with me about my race.

"You are Indian girl."

"Non, je suis américaine!"

"No, I am sorry. You are poorly mistaken. But you are Mexican."

"Okay, okay, je suis italienne."

"Oh, okay."

You know, these conversations would be considered offensive in the U.S. Everyone here thinks I'm Hispanic. One Venezualan girl in class asked if I spoke Spanish. I said no because I'm American. She stared at me and said, "But you're brown."

Anyways, back to the story. While eating frîtes, I called my boyfriend. Of course he didn't pick up because he was working. But I thought he might be able to sneak off and talk to me. We left the restaurant and I had to walk the fifteen minutes home so I tried to find someone to call. I called my boyfriend two more times, but to no avail. I called Michelle. Nothing. I called Joy and she picked up and talked to me until I made it home.

At home I received a text from Michelle. She said she was in tears because she thought something was wrong. I told her I was fine and in bed. I left Dylan a voicemail (stupid) that could only have made him nervous. I said I had really needed him tonight and was sad he wasn't there.

I woke up several times in the night. Each time I fell asleep I was greeted with an incredibly bizarre dream. I had a nightmare and woke up at 5:45 AM. My boyfriend had texted me five times, asking if I was okay and if he could call me. That he was so sorry he couldn't pick up. He had taken extra tables tonight so he could pay for his trip to France. Of course I told him I was sorry for the stupid voicemail and that everything was okay.

I fell asleep and woke up at 9:40 AM and received another flood of texts from my boyfriend. He had been drinking and all of his messages said how much he loved me and how he couldn't stop talking about me, how beautiful he thinks I am, etc. They were incredibly sweet so I saved them. I felt jealous that I couldn't be there with him and started feeling homesick again. I tried calling. No answer.

I fell asleep again and woke up around 1 PM. Not too sure what I'm going to do with myself today but it should not involve beer and an international phone.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breaking American Laws in France

It's 7 AM and my hands are sore from trying to open a Smirnoff Ice in the streets of France. I don't wanna talk about it. Okay, so maybe I do. Here's the story. We went out last night. Berry said the bars were less creepy earlier in the night, so we started walking around at 9 PM. But most of the bars looked empty.

We finally decided to go to an Irish Pub, James Joyce, where we heard they spoke English. It was packed, a good sign, so we went in and ordered a few drinks. Because of my high tolerance I ordered a margarita, which was basically just tequila poured into a martini glass. The other girls got some fruity concoction with marshmallows in it. I was feelin' a buzz when I left the bar but Amy still wanted alcohol so we stopped at a supermarket.

There, they sold wine in huge plastic bottles. Instead of trying this, I bought a Smirnoff Ice since we all decided we'd be French and drink in the streets. While Smirnoff is embarrassing, it's like liquid candy so I'd have no problem drinking it. Amy and Liana bought some beers and we left the store.

My Smirnoff bottle wouldn't twist-off and I soon realized I'd need a bottle opener. The girls wanted me to ask some random so open it for me, but I was too mortified about drinking Smirnoff Ice. We tried banging the bottle on a few window ledges and railings but to no avail. Finally, I found a condom dispenser and attempted to crack the bottle open against that. "You look like a fool," Liana said. At this point, I didn't care. I was disappointed so I shoved the bottle in my coat pocket. The rest of the way home it dangled and threatened to fall.

Starving Myself Will Make the Europeans Think I'm Less of an American

I'm very excited because my boyfriend applied for his passport today. He should be visiting me in April with my mom, and we're going to Paris for the second half of my spring break. Last night I realized he would be here for our six month anniversary! How's that for a celebration!? I haven't had a relationship last more than four months so this will be a big deal...ha.

In another news, M. thinks I'm anorexic. He's always teasing me about how little I eat and how my mother's gonna be displeased about me being so skinny. Lord, I wish he could see all the junk I eat at lunch. But here's the thing: I'm paranoid to eat in front of the French because I'm worried they'll relate my eating habits to my nationality. Ugh. All those Americans eat so much. No wonder she's so fat. When I came to France, I wanted to be as thin as possible so I wouldn't fulfill any stupid stereotypes. I know this is just my insecurities talking and the French really don't care, but it's always in the back of my mind.

Finally, my professor gave me the okay to change my courses. She told me my comprehension was très bien and I could go above the 311-level if I chose. I can't decide which credits will transfer to UNCA so I guess I'll look into that tomorrow. THEN IT'S THE WEEKEND. I hope to go out and party this weekend because staying in has given me cabin fever the past few nights. Oh, the French also enjoy torturing their students by giving them all 8:00 AM classes on Friday, the morning after college night. Pourquoi, France?!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

M. Sarkozy, Please Renew My Visa 'Cause I'm Not Going Home

So the title is a lie. I do miss everyone, but tonight was one of those nights where I thought, Holy shit. I'm in France and I never want to leave. It's kind of like being in love.

After classes (which I still haven't been able to change), I ate paninis with my friends and Leah and I browsed through French lingerie and tried our first macaroons. They were soft, cool, and sweet like ice cream. So fragile and delicious.

Later, I returned home to rest, finish my ten minutes of homework (read: joke), and Skype Dylan. Nikki messaged me and said she wanted to go out so we went for dinner and ate pizza. I had two glasses of wine. I'm not sure if my tolerance has gone down or if it was the previous two glasses of chardonnay I had had earlier, but I was buzzin' when we left. I hope my friends appreciate my tipsy texts sent at 2 PM American Eastern Time.

As I've stated before, I love meeting people but I hate small talk. Tonight was great because the two of us could talk about our lives back home. What we missed, what we didn't miss, who we missed...I had a rather warm feeling as I stumbled home, weaving my way through the dog merde dans les rues.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mon Dieu, Mme., C'est Originale!

In France some things are hilarious simply because they're French. Alors, Mme., Berry, and I were watching Sex and the City: The Movie in French this evening and I forgot how much sex was in it. Luckily the Europeans are quite lenient with sexuality so it wasn't too awkward. Anyways, so we're watching the part where Samantha's boyfriend approaches her with what appears to be a huge boner. However, when Samantha reaches into his pants she realizes it's a jewelry box. Mme. scoffs and says, "Oh, c'est originale." Mon dieu, I wanted to fall out of my seat.

France's Sadistic Enjoyment in Watching International Students Cry

French universities take sadistic pleasure in watching baffled study abroad students scurry around campus. Today was my first day of classes and it was incredibly stressful. The university posts the results of your entrance exam on a wall where everyone can see them. Talk about public humiliation. After this, they herd you into an amphitheater and ramble on in French about the professors and shit. Then you depart for classes. But you don't know where they're located. By each course listing there's a combination of letters and numbers...but no building.

I was scrambling around trying to find my class while some professors held up sheets of paper and led their students to the designated classroom. Of course my professor didn't do that so I'm walking back and forth through the lobby. I'm practically in tears by this point and the lobby is beginning to clear of its international students. Finally, I ask one of the professors where I'm supposed to go and she tells me to walk upstairs. You might assume that Salle 313 is on the third floor, but you're wrong. It's actually on the fifth floor, because apparently that makes a lot more sense.

Anyway, I walk into class and immediately understand everything the professor is saying. I realize this is a terrible sign, because in Prof. Malicote's class at home I'm baffled about 60% of the time. After going to my langue classes I realize I've been placed in intermediate French which is way too easy for me. I mean, I was doing literary analyses last semester and wrote a 6-page dissertation on Camus. I should be in upper-level French. I did not come all way from the States to learn passé composé and imparfait again. Ahh. I'm rather stressed and I'm going to talk to my professor about moving me up several levels. But as stated before, nothing in this country comes easily for internationals so we'll see. C'est la vie.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eating Goose Liver, Drinking at Two, and Other Things American Students Have to Try in France

Today has been interesting so far. It's Berry's birthday, so the family had a large lunch prepared. I met her boyfriend, Léo, who had studied in America for four months and wanted to practice his English with me. We watched a French game show and he seemed surprised when I could hold my own on the French literature questions. Then he, François, and I played Wii Sports until it was time to eat.

First, we had champagne and salty snacks. I gave Berry her gift and she loved it. I had bought some pretty macaroons from a pâtisserie downtown and Mme. informed me that Berry loved macaroons. I was so relieved, because I was worried she would be one of those strange people who didn't like sweets.

After this, we sat at the table. In front of each of us was a plate with a slice of what appeared to be spam. Mme. said she'd tell me what it was after I ate it. Never a good sign, but....vive la France! I ate it and, not liking it, I washed it down with a sweet white wine. M. told me it was goose liver. It's a French delicacy that's only served on special occasions. You slice it and eat it with baguettes and onion paste. I was the only one who didn't finish, so Mme. asked if I didn't like it. I told her it was new for me because I was a vegetarian in the States, but I was willing to try anything and everything while in France. I mean, when I return to the States I'll be able to say I had goose liver and got drunk with my family. Bad ass, right?

Afterwards, she served a stew with pork, oranges, rice, and mashed celery. Bon! I actually enjoyed the pork and accepted a second and third glass of wine. Léo laughed and asked, "Tu aimes le vin?" Later, Mme. asked about my astrological year and while I meant to say cheval for horse, I said chèvre for goat. For some reason I found this hilarious. By this time the room was tilting so I decided to stop.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dinner for Two

Tonight Monsieur and I ate together because Madame was working, Berry was spending the night with her friends, and François was at a sporting event. M. was the first family member I met in Angers and I think he's about the coolest guy ever. The day I arrived in France, Berry told me her family had to work until 17h00 so I needed to find a ride to their home. Hervé, a French student who studied at UNCA for a semester, offered to show me around until they got off work. However, Berry quickly emailed me back and said her dad would be able to pick me up at the train station, regardless of work. When I first arrived, I realized the adapter for my laptop didn't work because I have a Macbook. I became quite anxious, but M. immediately took the laptop charger to the nearest electronic store and bought me a new adapter within the hour.

Tonight he cooked stew with chicken and couscous. During dinner he asked how old I was. He seemed surprised when I told him I was twenty. He then asked if I had ever been so far away from home for a long period of time. I had lived in Italy for a month last summer, but that was different. I was with American students the entire time. I became rather emotional as he asked how I was adapting. I told him I loved Angers but it was difficult to be so loin de my family. I almost started crying but realized how mortifying that would be and immediately stopped myself. M. recognized that I was feeling a little spleen (blue) and told me he would cook any one of my favorite meals. All I had to do was ask. He also gave me free reign over the television and his office, which is full of French books and comics. It sounds cheesy, but M.'s efforts to accommodate me have shown me how much I'm starting to love this little French family.

In my room I Skyped my boyfriend and started crying. However, I wasn't sad. I love it here and am starting to adapt. Everyday is an adventure, but I do miss my family and friends at times. Talking about it at dinner just reminded me how far I am from my comfort zone. But I really am okay. It was difficult to explain this to Dylan. All he could see was me crying, but I tried to tell him that I was happy. So many people dream of living abroad. Here I am, only twenty years old, and I get to live in France for four months! I'm so blessed and I realize that every day.

Bonjour from Everyone's Favorite French Invalid

I really don't know what to do with myself. I woke up super late again. I would love to go out today because a) I need food and b) I need to by a gift for my French sister's birthday. Speaking of food, I really am punching myself in the face for buying a bunch of crap yesterday at the grocery store. Who does that? I guess eating junk is comforting when you're an American girl in France, but I need to buy more substantial food. I really want to buy some brie but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to use the refrigerator. My family is super chill, but I just want to be sure.

I used my French hair straightener this morning. The temperature is in celsius, which is a little baffling, but it's pink so it's okay. Also, it cost an arm and a leg. I feel like that's a fair trade since I'm considering cutting off my limbs later. They hurt so bad. It's difficult to walk to the bathroom, let alone the thirty minutes into town, mais je ne sais pas.

Another thing: the French are so adorable. If you say you're from the southern United States they all think you're from Florida. Non, non, la Floride est très sud! Madame brought out an atlas of the U.S. last night and was asking where I lived. Earlier, my father asked what the capital of North Carolina was. I told him Raleigh and when he saw it written on the map he said, "Ohhhh! Ralèg!" hahaha their pronunciation is so different.

On another note, last night was the first night since I've been here that I haven't cried. It's kind of embarrassing to admit this on a public forum, but it's true. I become very homesick late at night when I want to sleep and I know my friends in America are still awake. However, last night was okay. I stayed up until 2 AM but fell asleep easily enough. I'm starting to become better friends with the American girls here and it's a relief because I hate the typical ca va? tu es de? conversations upon first meeting people. That was one thing I hated about coming to college as well. Can't we skip the light chats and move on to the more meaningful conversations where people really connect?

I hear people downstairs; maybe it's François, the 15-year-old pastry chef. I'm not sure if it's appropriate to go down there in my boyfriend's shorts and a t-shirt.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm Going to Have the Best Legs in Europe

Today I ate ham. That's how much I love this country (I'm a vegetarian.). My family made a ham and cheese quiche and I didn't want to be rude. I also didn't turn down an offering of wine. They haven't charged me for any meals yet, so I'm definitely thankful for that. One thing I'm noticing about the French though is that they eat très vite. At least my family does. I'll be halfway done with my meal and they'll have cleaned their plates. I find it humorous because back home I was always the quick eater. Now I can't keep up.

Also, I've been walking. A LOT. I don't mean to boast or complain but I'm just not used to walking this much. Yesterday I walked for five hours around town and today I averaged about seven. On my way home I could barely walk in a straight line. My legs hurt so bad I thought they'd buckle. Oh, well. Hopefully I'll be very mince when I return to the States! But then again Nutella is part of the French food pyramid so maybe not...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In France, It's Socially Acceptable to Drink at Noon

This morning was my French placement exam. I got there early, courtesy of my French mother, wandered aimlessly through le bâtiment Bazin and felt hopelessly American. Everyone was speaking in French (obviously) but I mustered up the courage to ask a petite Japanese girl where the test was held. We talked for awhile and eventually met up with a Bulgarian girl who spoke very little French, though she was fluent in English. She was rather crass and told me all about the great bars and parties and how she has God's eyeball tattooed on her back.

Later, I met up with some American students and we ate at a petit crêperie for lunch. It was served with fermented cidre that reminded me of Italian moscato: dangerously sweet and delicious. Afterwards, we wandered around Angers and poked our heads into a few shops, though I neglected to buy anything.

Tonight I'm meeting up with my American friends again and Leah is cooking. I'm happy to be so busy because it takes my mind off of being away from home. This is my first full day in Angers and I am quite happy. I just have to avoid being alone for long periods. This shouldn't be a problem tonight.

However, I am très jet-lagged and would love to take a nap before dinner, but I'm not sure if I'd be able to wake up again. C'est ca!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An Uneventful Trip to Paris...Or Not

I prayed for an uneventful trip to France, but of course that's not what I received. Dylan called me when my plane landed at the Charlotte airport. I asked him what he was doing and he sheepishly replied, "Nothing."

"Are you at your apartment?"

"No...I'm not at my apartment."

"Then where are you? You're being sketchy."

After I prodded for several moments, he finally answered, "I'm in the Charlotte airport."

I stopped, not believing what I had heard. I asked where he was, knowing he couldn't get past security. Had he really driven this far to be denied by the airport officials? After several failed attempts to find him, I turned to my right and spotted my boyfriend outside security. My flight boarded in forty minutes. If I left the gates, I'd have to go through security again. But how could I deny him after he'd driven so far?

I left and gave him a hug. But it didn't feel real. For a second, I was disappointed. I had finally accepted that I was leaving and then Dylan had to do something amazing like this. The scent of his cologne, the feel of his t-shirt beneath my fingers, it was all too much. He bore a gift: a video he had made for me. We only had fifteen minutes together because the line to security was filling up. I left him, but he stayed until he saw me pass through the gates.

I just watched the video, secretly knowing I shouldn't have. Now I miss him more than ever.