Sorry, I’ve been out for a while! I feel like I’ve been making a lot of excuses lately, and I sincerely want to apologize for that. It’s been a hectic semester and my jet lag/finals did not help at all. That being said…I’m back in the states!
Things turned out completely different than how I expected it to. You can refer to part I of this post here! Right now, it’s time to reflect a little bit more, but I’m going to reference the things I said I was going to do and see if I actually did them (sort of how I did it with my summer bucket list). We shall see how well I did! And in addition, I will highlight some posts that stuck out to me and really made my experience in France one of the most memorable trips of my life.
Categories didn’t change much, and I think we got a little bit more complaining on my side than expected. That just goes to show you that I didn’t expect this trip to be as hard as it actually was. I can still remember when I showed up at the gare to see my host family, and when my host dad started speaking to me, I couldn’t understand a word. So when that usually happens in class, the teacher repeats in English. Well, that’s sort of impossible when they don’t speak English and they just repeat the same thing but incredibly slow, which makes you feel like a complete idiot.
Hard? I think that’s been well-said, but in a way that’s nothing like I expected. It’s not the next AP class that pushes you to read more textbooks and study more. As a matter of fact, most students who learn another language (assuming that they’re not American and have a shit-ton of work to do) don’t do homework. The way you get better at a language is honestly to practice. It’s taking the time, taking the courage and effort to go out of your way to make yourself a better speaker and writer. This involves a lot of humiliation and shame, which I have a feeling is not that unusual. You can’t take it personally when you’re told that you haven’t become fluent or when nobody understands what you’re saying when you’ve spent weeks practicing. That’s the hardest part: the language barrier truly plays with your mind. Even though this trip did feel more like a vacation in the sense that I was able to go to the beach on the weekends unlike in the states, it was an incredibly difficult semester.
I apologize for WOTD – it never happened, and it’s probably because I couldn’t find an interesting word to use. Maybe in the future I will bring some French words to the table, and maybe you awesome nerds will learn something new! Regarding the future, I’ll be discussing some exciting plans for next year in a few weeks.
Coffeehouse was a semi-success: I cranked out a couple of poems that I’m pretty proud of, because they really captured how I felt. I also had problems doing this just because I was doing so much homework, which also explains the fact that I was slowing down on my posts a lot. Yet, I did warn all of you that I wouldn’t always have access to a computer so hopefully I’m excused! But sitting in a café didn’t really help me creatively think because it was a hassle to even fit my tiny notebook on the even tinier coffee tables. But here are the ones that I did write and am actually quite happy I wrote! Not proud, but happy.
Performances: Okay, I really sucked at this and I’m sorry. In Paris, I did go to a ballet at the same opera house where they filmed Phantom of the Opera. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera because I didn’t want any of the lagging gypsies outside the gates to take it. Plus, you can’t film the performances. Yes, it was marvelous. BUT, I did go see three movies, two of which were in French. All of which were American (I learned that the American film industry is really just a world media monopoly). Le Petit Prince was my favorite.
I was a little late on the music when it came to reporting Artists of the Months….but I hope you liked them! Some of them I did not get to give my usual thorough analysis, but there was only so much time I had. None of my words were lies though, and even though there’s a serious lack of French music in the world (well, good modern French music), I thought I’d still share the best of the best! By the way, we’re not finished with these French artists…we still got good ol’ Coeur de Pirate.
– Zaz (AKA. My favorite)
Photography went a lot better than I expected, honestly. It was easy for me to post (yay me) and it was easy for you to read (yay you). I’m actually really impressed with the responses I received on some of these pictures. I reached about 30 likes with the donkey picture which I knew for some of you other big bloggers isn’t that impressive. Well, I’m small and I like how I roll, so I’m pretty happy that you awesome nerds enjoy my sense of humor. Here are the other pictures that I posted! As I’ve been saying for the past few months, I would appreciate it if you guys send over any advice, criticism, and/or fan-mail so I can improve as a photographer!
There were no food posts, unfortunately (sorry…I was really bad about that, but I gave you a food pic of paella that I ate from some street vendor below!). I’m hoping, though, that I will be able to include some food blogposts in the near future, even though they’re not in France. Then again, maybe I’ll return to France and pursue my studies. Things change all the time. I ended up talking about my excursions a lot (Sète, Marseille, Avignon, and Arles). Even though they seemed a little too much like history lessons, I hope you at least learned something.
Also, a lot of things changed in France, and if you’ve been following my blog, you probably would have noticed the change in a lot of my viewpoints. The Paris attacks really affected me and probably changed my life forever. I became a lot more political in my opinions, which is a trait I think will continue on this blog. As I had originally stated when I founded the 100 Ways to Write, I will do everything I can to ensure that everyone knows that my opinions are mine alone, and I respect anybody who brings up their own. This is something I learned in France. After being around a diverse group of opinions, I learned that there’s a difference between hearing and accepting. Hearing is when somebody tells you something and you make it vocal that you disagree with them by telling them that they’re wrong. Accepting, however, is healthier and involves a certain degree of both respect and awareness to those around you. This is what I will be striving for from now on. Please pull me in check if I don’t; don’t forget that this is an open forum.
In a couple days, 100 Ways to Write is getting into some holiday spirit, so get ready for some cheery posts! Hint hint: this is my favorite time of the year.