94. Living it up in spring

So the weather just doesn't seem to disappoint; it makes life such a pleasure.

Last week, I went to eat kebab with the twins (Thursday cause we didn't have sport) & may I say it was delicious!! 8/10. We sat on la pelouse by the Hippodrôme, which is where the horses race. I didn't speak for 10 minutes straight because I was so engulfed in my eating experience.

I also really want to tell you about my math teacher, whom I don't think I'll ever forget & it hurts me to think that I only get to be taught by her for one year. It actually sucks.

First of all, she is THE teacher. Ever since I was little, I've had this image of a teacher, and she is it. She's in her late fifties, I would guess, with not a strand of grey hair & you can tell that she doesn't colour her hair. Plus, she against all that fake stuff. She's got pin-straight thin brown hair & I mean PIN STRAIGHT. Plus, she's in the best shape someone her age could be (from what I can see, at least), mostly because she is freaking ENTHOUSIASTIC, which is a very big understatement. It's crazy how much she loves math & loves trying to make us understand. She gets so excited about Pascal's triangle and intégration par parties. & the thing is, I completely understand where she's coming from. I'm just as crazy about theorems and such, but evermore so because of her.

Her class is taught at the HIGHEST DECIBLE-BLE-BLe-Ble-ble...!!! & my host mom calls her the TGV (train à grande vitesse; super fast European transportation system). We are speeding through the year's curriculum but it's still all so interesting!!! I realize that not everyone in my class can agree with me, since math has one of the lowest class averages but I'm positive that no one can deny that she's an AMAZING teacher.

She's got the knowledge of her work down packed & knows everything perfectly forwards & backwards. She's never made a mistake on a problem but occasionally makes a little calculation error if it's last period. Furthermore, she's respected, controls the class without control, laughs at people's stupid comments (unlike some other teacher), laughs at silliness but is usually serious. She's very organized yet laid back, & when she's in the zone, she is IN THE ZONE. Math makes her go & go & if you don't follow, tough luck.

Last thing, unlike some other teachers ':/ , she actually appreciates the fact that I'm foreign & that I have different things to bring to the table. Thank. You! Plus, sometimes, she gives us a brief history course (math history, of course) or shows us her (ancient) calculators or the "old way of doing things". Plus again, she's the oldest of all my teachers & yet the most knowlegeable with computers, which she taught herself how to use. She's open-minded & invites new technology & encourages us to be curious & go forward. Heck, she teaches using computer programs; I don't think ANY other teacher in the lycée does that.

She doesn't make me want to drop Food Sci but she surely makes me want to pursure math.

Here's to Mme Lefèvre. :P



93. Grieving period

my host mom is on her way to pick me up from school so i actually have to hurry.

i just wanted to say that yesterday still stays on my mind & on top of the robberies, i failed in my gym evaluation & i utterly dislike (euphemism) my gym teacher for reasons i won't waste time on. basically, for the first time, i had trouble sleeping because i felt so angry at the people who made my life suck that day. now, i have the ugliest pencil case ever with the worst pens ever. yuck.

besides that, i ate well, got a good mark on my test & chatted with my spanish teacher for 20 min.




92. Shit day.

lack of knowledge of french culture bit me in the ass today...

this morning, i got my pencil case stolen; the most beautiful pencil case i've ever owned that my mom gave me two years ago, with all of my "babies" in it: four fountain pens, four highlighters, a protractor, a tube of refill leads, four ball-point pens, roller white-out, TWO sharpies, a ruler, a glue stick & a USB key (with EVERYTHING since the beginning of the year on it: school work, pictures, music, my brother's raps...plus it was a freaking beautiful key; FFFFFFFFFFFFFF THOSE PEOPLE!!!). I BASICALLY PACKED MY LIFE INTO MY PENCIL CASE. SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHH SHIT GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MLAKGJLMAEKRZELMITYELMJKFSDMPAQOI3ZHM5RZKLEQSMLDJ23DTFGVRTYHFGETFGHSZT4RHR6DFSGDFGSDGFG3A5RT5RGHDFGVF ULAZEKGJFLFSDLIFGHFL/ZIQUDHFKFHJKVBNZPTUIHITYHNPKLQSDJFHQKSLJDRHZEJRNHRUHZOITUKJSGHBVPQIOEURHIPZRGFHRIHKFGBLKSDJGHPRIUTHMZAERKLJMSWLKFHQLMSRTFYHP42398YHT9PU8STHJKTGH3LIMUTHBKLGBCVNBQEMKRTUHZRQTJKHDQSPTOUI4HRMTOZEJRHTMZEKLTJUHMSLGJKHS?.DFGVBGMSKTUHRT35T(before this post, i hadn't realized just how much i had lost)

& it only gets better...

during gym, i got money stolen. at first, i thought that they had taken my wallet because it wasn't in it's usual place but then i found it in my bag, with just money missing. shit...

on the bright side, if there is one, i had my lead pencil & my famous jumbo eraser in my pocket so those didn't get stolen. & i don't really care if money gets stolen as long as all my cards & my wallet are still with me. it's crazy cause just this morning, i was admiring my pencil case & my wallet. at least i didn't take them for granted...

but shit anyway. & i'm plain out angry at how selfish people can be & how little they consider sentimental value.


yet another lesson for living in the real world.



91. the most IMPORTANT post: Sometimes, I should really keep my trap shut

so for once, there's no ds on a wednesday, which meant i got to sleep in. yesterday, the spanish teacher was absent & at night, there was my conseil de classe, which all amounts to having only two hours of intégrals & primitives. not too shabby...

so as i've explained in a previous entry, not everyone has the same perspective on my year here & how much time i have left. it puts me in a difficult situation, where i feel torn. this is probably what a girl who has two guys fighting over her must feel.

the truth is, being away from home-home has in NO WAY made me feel like i don't want to go back nor that i dread home-home. on the contrary, it has only reinforced the connection that i feel with my own family. it's incredible how much i've realized about how i've grown up, my childhood, the kind of person that i've become & the kind of person that i want to be. being in a new family, i can't help but compare them to my old family & those are the moments that i realize what i agree with, what i disagree with & what i can simply tolerate, which is to say, (yes the brutal truth) that neither side is perfect. & that's when i tell myself that i should keep my trap shut.

but i know that i can't because what i truly want is to CLARIFY THINGS & to erase the fact that there are "sides". there are no sides, just differences. it hurts me to hear one family talk about the other as "them" as if they're the enemies, especially when the whole point of the AFS experience is to promote peace. having lived with a new family for six months, i now officially feel part of the family, which must sound like betrayal to my family-family & you must be thinking, "how can you possibly belong to two families?" honestly, i won't try to explain it to you because it's just something you have to live. it's a like a trying to explain a lost child, or a miscarriage; not to be morbid or anything but those are just things that are inexplicable but certainly liveable.

what i want to say most is that i feel like i'm a part of my french family the way that someone can feel like they belong to a group; a choir, a hockey team, a fight against breast cancer etc. i feel like i belong somewhere whereas back in december/january, i was straddling. HOWEVER, & this is the biggest however that there may exist, that doesn't in any way change the fact that my roots, my deep down insides are cemented in my family-family & that it's never going to change. i want to go home but nevertheless, i want to stay here too but not because life is in anyway "better" but because thinking about going back reminds me of all the changes i have to face all over again & all the readaptation i'll have to go through...AGAIN.

i'm really not trying to be selfish but adaptation is freaking hard on the soul, even for me considered that i'm pretty adaptable. i'm looking forward to weekend breakfasts with my family-family but i already forsee a difficult period. honestly, i'm kind of scared.

it's completely understandable but very few of my friends & family realize that i could actually be having a great time here. also, the fact that since i've left, not a lot has changed for them but that A LOT has changed for me has something to do with it too.
let's say life back home is a boat speeding straight forward with everyone who knows me on it. for a while, i decide to jump off the boat & onto another one who's speeding straight forward as well right alongside the first boat. well, i get the feeling that everyone just expects me jump back on the boat with a slight memory lapse of what happened while i was off & that's all, which is from being the case. i think that people forget that i was ON ANOTHER BOAT. i lived & i changed. when i jump back onto the first boat, life most likely WILL NOT continue where i had left off. it WILL be different. i'm not trying to scare you guys or anything, but i just want to make things very clear.

leaving is not the same as coming: when i left, i didn't know what awaited me but now when i go, i have an idea of what awaits me & that's the scary part of my perspective. life back home also WILL NOT continue where it left off. A LOT can change in one year.

conclusion: there's a difference between loving & feeling connected to a family & actually wanting to live with them, which sounds completely wrong but completely right for me. in the past half-year, i've never felt so much love, appreciation & envy for my own family due to the fact that i was not physically with them so please do not interpret not being overly eccstatic to go home as not wanting to be with family. i'm only dreading all the changes that come with it that i'll have to face.

i wonder if in another six months, i'll have wished that i had kept my trap shut on a sunny wednesday morning in march...if this post will have done more harm than good...



90. 4 months to go...

so i'm officially more than 5 months into the afs experience & i'm starting to be in the same mentality that i had before i left for france: doing countdowns & thinking about the "last time i do something"

what i've realized a lot in the last week is how MUCH i've adapted to my new life, how much i've completely integrated to the point that i can't even differenciate what's routine from what's "new", for lack of a better word. i'm at the point where i'm practically as far as someone can go into "living" & it's starting to scare me that in 4 months, i'll have to "get out". my question is...how??

firstly, i've made some incredible friends, people who treat me like a real friend; they hang out with me not because i'm a foreigner but because they actually want to (i'm pretty sure, at least...) i've had great moments with them & they include me. as for my family, it's the same. i feel like i'm part of the family except that i don't have to feel it, you know? i just live it. i'm just that far in. it's really hard to explain this properly cause honestly, i don't really understand it myself but yeah...i think this is the first time this experience has surprised me.

as for my teachers, even they are surprised voire impressed my me. not only because of my marks but because my efforts. i've honestly never had so many teachers congratulate me & just the fact that they're strict french teachers whom didn't think much of me or whom i didn't get along with or whom didn't really care, even THEY have paid me compliments. basically, what i'm trying to say is that these past two weeks have been scarily good. not necessarily great but just good & who can ask for more? maybe the weather has an effect on me but i swear it's all true. christmas break was turning point number one & this is turning point number two.

please know that i'm writing this as i feel & i'm trying to be as true as possible to myself, without considering the feelings of anyone else. they thing is, before i left, i kept asking myself, "how can i leave all of these people?" & now i find myself asking the exact same question. how can i possibly? there are truly some wonderful people here, people that i don't want to have to forget just because of "long-distance". the problem is that i know that i won't be easy to stay in contact with my host family & friends & it's possible that we all get lazy so what if???

i'll miss the food too. the baguettes, the cheeses, the ACTUAL lunches as opposed to disguting cold-cut sandwiches that i loath so much.

what surprises me most is how long i haven't seen my own family. i can't BELIEVE i haven't seen my sister, brother, mom, grandparents for SIX MONTHS. how insane is that?! but réciproquement, i also can't believe that i've lived with my host family for six months.

so i feel like i'm turning in circles trying to explain this, which is true; from one perspective, six months is not big deal, living abroad is not big deal. a lot of people travel & live away or in a different country for long periods; a lot of people even immigrate. but then again, from my personal perspective, this is a HUGE thing in my life that i'll never forget. when i think back on my life, it would be something like:

OMG!! perhaps it's my transition between childhood & adulthood!! even more significance added. oh myohmyohmy... i'll try to make the next post more interesting...

this weekend, it's the fête des grand-mères so we'll be lunching with the grandparents although fête des grand-pères doesn't exist...curious...




89. Things are starting to shine...

so i don't know what it was with me this week but don't think i've ever gotten so many marks back in a week and...so many good marks...

i said that i didn't want to jinx anything but seeing as term 2 is over, i hope karma will cut me some slack since it's quite exciting news for me. i won't go into the details of what i got in what blah blah but i must make note of the following "yays!!"
-monday morning first period: 20/20 on a DM (devoir maison), which is like the very first 20 out of my whole class since the beginning of the year! & if you care to refer to my french-american marks equivalence chart, you would know just how much it's worth. PLUS, (MAJOR bonus & this is what i'll remember more than anything), it was with the teacher that i don't get along with!!!!! & you know what? he himself was in disbelief & he shook my hand violently to congratulate me. i still can't believe it. my hope is that from now on, we'll have a better student-teacher relationship. teacher's comment: Excellent tout simplement.
-philo: endearing compliments from my teacher
-yesterday, i got back a math DM (18.5) where my teacher gave me an Excellent so what i've realized is that the word "Excellent" is never used unless you get 100%...awwwwwesome :)
-ok, so today's DS (devoir surveillé) didn't go quite as nicely as i hoped. it won't be my shining mark for the trimestre (i surely hope not!!) but it's passable. i blame it on myself, for having gone back to slack mode. shame on me...
-the weather since monday has been impeccable, as in bright sun, clear skies & cool breeze. my number one favourite weather, with or without snow
-the cantine has also been serving food in my favour: Chanteneige (a PERFECTLY salted whipped cheese) two days in a row, tomates farcie yesterday, with couscous;;;woot!!

basically, up until this morning, i was very satisfied.