“You must just be so ecstatic about going to France, you are going to have so much fun, you are going to drink so much wine and eat lots of baguettes, cheese and chocolate. Don’t forget about us here in the U.S.”
It is easy to say to someone who is giving up their life for a year to go abroad. In all honesty, it is a scary thought. People believe that this year is going to be a huge party for me, where I am not going to give zero cares in the world about anything but drinking, eating and heading to the famous discotheques every night. It is nothing like that.
I intend on having fun, I do. This adventure is a personal growth though, that is the goal. It is also a job, I have signed a contract to take care of a little three year old, which will be the first out of the two of my main priorities. My second is going to school. This year, if I work hard enough in school, will help give me recognition again educationally, which I lost my senior year of high school when we moved to Indiana. When we moved, I was given the choice to either graduate by taking certain classes but not being able to apply for a four year college or not graduate at all (that’s the long story short, most of it was due to the fact that the school was not accepting half of my credits from my old one).
That thought put me in a fowl mood. I had worked so hard in school, sleepless nights studying for AP Exams, doing outside activities like swimming and theater, to be told that all my work throughout my first three years of high school was going to be put aside my senior year.
My mom saw this in me. She saw my confusion as a person, giving up on myself and saying that school was pointless, when I had always had a passion for learning. She was the one who told me to take a year off and find a way to find that passion again. So I did, and all the money I saved up was used for this adventure.
People don’t understand that my French is very generic, somewhat barbaric. “Where is bathroom, I like wine, directions to school please”. I am giving up the capacity to be able to be understood. I am putting myself in a situation in which I am going to be making mistakes over and over again, but slowly learning a third language.
For example: The other day I sent an e-mail to my host mom using the word excitée believing it meant excited. What I thought I said was, “I am very excited to meet the three of you in Nice“. What I had actually said was “I am very aroused to meet the three of you in Nice“. I found out that excitée means aroused. Hilarious, isn’t it? For me, it is somewhat embarrassing. But I am laughing because, trust me, lesson learned. I understand that mistakes will be made.
Don’t take me wrong… I do plan on going to discotheques. I do plan on drinking lots of wine (let’s be honest, I am somewhat of a wino), I do plan on eating lots of cheese, baguettes, and stuffing my cabinets with massive amounts of chocolate and nutella. I am excited! Who gets to say that at the mere age of 19, they lived in Paris? By themselves? I just know that I am also nervous. I haven’t moved out of my house yet to live in my own apartment with friends. This may be my 13th move, but my first living alone experience is going to be on the other side of the world, without the comforts of home, my family or my friends. At the mere age of 19… that is also nerve racking.
P.S. Doesn’t Nice look like paradise?