Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28

Also Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing people ever... Mary Leslie !!! Have a great birthday, I love you so much, you're with me everywhere I go <3

I got to talk to my mom and my Dad today with skype which was really nice also and I talked to my sister with yesterday and it was a lot of fun. And my dog... :)

I get to read Harry Potter in french now before I sleep. bon nuit :)

Extreme tree climbing...ow.

Yesterday was terrifying. 

We were introduced with all the other inbounds staying in my district... 7 other americans from all over the states (Only one from Michigan.. woo ) and one girl from Japan, one boy from Taiwan, one girl from Indonesia and two girls from India. It's so interesting to meet all of them and I can safely say that all of them are very cool interesting people. 

With our French rotary club, we went out to a course and the only english words I can describe it as what it is are the highropes? But it's much different. Basically, you followed a track up in the trees from one course for another. I did not want to be rude, so I went along with it, but I am deathly afraid of heights. Ok I'm in a harness, supposedly safe yeah yeah whatever. The first party is fine you just climb up this giant net thing up into the trees. Whatever. Easy. 

I didn't look ahead when I first climbed up, so what I didn't see was the part where you are attatched to one little cable and you hold onto the same cable WHILST walking across an equally skinny cable 50 feet off the ground in the middle of a forrest. .........Did I mention I'm terrified of heights mhmm... 

If anyone has felt genuine fear for their life or crazy injury you know what I'm talking about. This would NEVER BE ALLOWED IN AMERICA. and also, all the safety regulations, rules, helpful advice, whatever, was all told to us in French. Ok. 

I was also freaked out because if I get seriously hurt, chances are that I get sent home. I got the most freaked out when I went down the major zipline and forgot to grab the second rope to slow myself down, and smashed my face really gracefully into the metal hook of my zipline. Because of the nearly unberable pain and lots of blood my first thought was that I broke my nose. SHITGODFUCKDAMNOW OW OW OW OW.  But when it stopped hurting enough for me to touch it, I moved it around and there were no loose peices. So I guess its fine....? heh. 

After that, there were other parts of the course that were equally crazy. you couldn't get down once you were up, but I'm glad I did do it, because you should do something every day that scares the hell out of you...I guess :P But never again. 

After that, my host papa picked me up and we went to a really neat dinner party at some friend's chateau. It was really neat, old, and beautiful. Lots of roses. They had a boy (Ian 17) and girl (Marie 14) almost  my age and a little brother (Luke 12). I had a really fun time with them watching American movies in French and asking them if they knew things like Jersey Shore, Justin timberlake, and Hollister clothes. hahah. It was a really nice night. We walked through town in the night so we could buy Frites (french fries) from a stand that people come all over to get, very popular in Northern France. 

Today was kind of quiet. I went for two really nice walks, we live in the french country here so lots of beautiful fields, horses, trees, and brick homes. The pictures will be really beautiful. I start school in a week, really happy !!! Everything's still going really great, right now I'm sitting with my sister Blanche in her cool room, she is watching some kind of French reality show on her ipad. :) :) 

It's becoming much cooler here, and it definitely rains every day which I really like and the sun also comes out a few times everyday. IT IS WONDERFUL HERE !!!!! And apparently, I have a ridiculously thick American accent........object of ridicule :P haha but it's ok. I'm getting piano lessons from my amazing musician host sister Agathe. She is so great. 

I'm taking it easy until school starts in a week, learning as much French as I can and learning a new way of life. I'm very very happy :) 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I got up at 6:10 of the morning of my flight. I wanted enough time to clean up, because packing makes a mess in my room and really all over so I originally set it for 5:30, but ignored it until then. I got up and put last minute things in my purple suitcase and smaller red kipling bag. Showered, dressed, waited for everyone to slowly wake up. 

Everyone who knows me well knows that when I get stressed, or worried or anxious I snap at anyone for anything and I'm not pleasant. It began with what my brother was wearing to the airport (I really couldn't care less). As we stood in the driveway, my dog Mick at last came out of his house to say goodbye. He was very quiet, and his eyes looked very sad. After I pet him and said my goodbye he quickly turned right back into his house. A little sad. 

When we drove out of my driveway, I did forget to look at my house and the lake one last time, but I was fiddling with the radio and it slipped my mind. Maybe it's better that I don't have that image locked up. We went straight to my best friend's house, Alex, and picked her up. 

We drove to Grand Rapids and it was good to laugh with her like it was just a normal day. Once we reached East town we had breakfast at a bohemian place called Cafe Gaia, but I didn't have much because of my nerves. 

We drove to the airport straight after, but before, my dear friend MARY came into the Gaia giving me a large envelope packed with juicy wisdom and final regards with a few beautiful pictures and some prayer beads. I've never been so thankful for anything in my life. 

As my "zone" was called to board the airplane, I hugged my mom. We did cry. I'm not a crier, so I thought I might not, but when she started to shake I couldn't control it. I love my Mom. I kissed my brother and sister twice each and told them to be good. I hugged my alex. "I'll be seein you." 

As my boarding past was scanned, I looked back one final time. They waved at me, and I waved once and then walked on into the plane. I did not want them to see me cry. 

In the 1 hour and 26 minutes flight to Atlanta I did not do much else other than cry a little, stare out the window and inch my prayer beads back and forth through my fingers. 

I was suppost to connect in Atlanta with my flight to Paris. I did make it, but I'm not even going to mention how close it was. It scares me to think about it. 

My seat partner on the flight was another rotary exchange student going to France, but I already forgot his name. On the plane I read quietly, listened to a little music and stared out the window over the ocean. All of the stars were there, the same ones I could see in Michigan. As the sun came up over the clouds, I could see England, Ireland and Scotland. And finally Paris. The Arc de triumph looked like a toy, and le louvre and eiffel tower to. We finally landed in the charles de gaulle airport after 8 hours and 13 minutes. 

We made our way through customs, and baggage, where none of my items were lost :) . I wasn't feeling sad anymore, I was feeling excited still and nervous. I called my mom on my friend's international cell phone to tell her I had landed safely. I collected my baggage and quickly galloped to the doors where the other exchange students were (there were 7 of us traveling together.) The doors opening were a Pandora's box. people cramed against a gate barrier, holding out American flags and hollering broken english over babbling French. They were all of our host parents, plus host siblings and friends. It was a sight, and we began to walk into the crowd. Someone grabbed my arm, smiling. "Bonjour Mhegaan! Bonjour Mhegaan!" My host mother is beautiful. She has short hair a deep brown, a smiling lovely face and skinny legs. My host sister as well, with flowing hair down to her stomach. My host mother is Laure and my host sister is Blanche. They guide me warmly up an escalator while I stutter what broken french I know. 

I am taken outside where the air is clean but cloudy. I'm in Paris. Blanche helps me with my luggage as Laure runs out to the car, telling Papa I'm here. I take my bags with Blanche to their car, which I thought at first was a small blue smart car, with kind of a weird looking older man. Ok, I thought, this is what I have and I must learn to adapt. 

But Blanche pulled me past the smart car and behind it was a large, large VW 60's van. I could see bikes in the back and a warm looking tall man in his 40's beaming at the driver's seat. He had a dark brown beard and a long sleeve green shirt. I went to the back to load my things. Papa came to the trunk to assist me, welcome me, and give me a hug. I climbed into the back seat with Blanche, and there was a large basket. An orange cat climbed into my lap and a wiener dog nested in between the front seat, staring up at me, the stranger. As we begin to drive off, Blanche opens the lid of the large basket, and 8 tiny puppies blink and wiggle. 


I pick one up. For the ride home through the countryside of France, I cuddle with the cat and the puppy. It begins to rain and Blanche falls asleep. I listen to an album of Modest Mouse, and we are home.  

At first I think Ok wow this is so cool, there are three mopeds in the old old stone entryway. and then I see this HUGE massive garden with fig trees and a peacock and a mish mash of other plants, flowers, and funky garden ornaments. I get in their kitchen. EVERYTHING is full of color and art that they made mostly themselves. All organic things are in the kitchen, lots of veggies and a funky sink made of stone. That kitchen is very tall, with paintings on the walls. It's very earthy and fun. When you go through a narrow doorway you get to the stairs, which are very skinny and covered with red velted and a cherry wood banishter. There's a piano in that room with the stairs and lot soft little couches. Piles of papers are stacked a lot. There are many colors on the walls, lots of books everywhere and in my room (vraiment la chambre de Joseph)  there is a giant fantastic mural on the ceiling that blows my mind, and crazy artworks all hang on the walls. 

I'm a little tired, but I don't sleep. Instead I relax for a while and then go into the big city with sister Blanche and her friend louise. We shop a little (I bought a nice scarf) and go for a cafe, and sit by a big fountain. We toured a really large catholic church, looking almost like Notre Dame in Paris. After we ride the underground and then the bus to get home, I clean my room and everything has been unpacked when I first got there. I go to sleep, waking up, it's dinner time with sisters blanche, Agathe and Laure, Papa, and some other friends. I wander into the kitchen and ask if it's night time or day time. "hhahahah Ce Soir!" Darn, so I won't be able to sleep until morning. After sitting at the dinner table until everyone has gone, I ask if I may shower, which I do, and then I went to sleep with the elegant white cat sitting beside me. 

I woke up with the white cat gone and instead an orange cat (didier) licking my nose. Today I toured all the gardens while taking pictures and eating some bread jam, fruit et cafe. Earlier, the sun was out. Pictures soon ! 

A bientot!!!  

Monday, August 22, 2011

...last night in the states...peace out america stress fest

Packing was fine, and really easy once my friend Mary came over and did it for me. Thx Mar.

Tonight is my last night in America and I wanted to do something fun but I'm sitting in my room, breathing loudly with anxiety and eating cough drops compulsively. BLehaheh34583094#$%^&

My flight is at 12:10 pm from Grand Rapids from Atlanta where I only have one hour to connect with my flight to Paris. That's going to be kind of nuts because if there is a delay, I will miss my plane and be stranded in the land of catfish for breakfast and runaway hookers. Just kidding, Georgia. I'm sure you have some more pleasant qualities, at least for a lawless swamp of infamy.

I forgot to take my happy pill this afternoon. Is that really the time?

I should probably sleep, or something. I want to wake up around six. That is, if I'm able to sleep at all which I hope to God I'm capable of.

Love peace and pickle grease

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Wow. What a nightmare. I mean, what the hell? Shouldn't this be the easy part? After going through mountain upon mountain of paperwork, visa applications and bank transactions shouldn't selecting a pile of clothes and shoes be a cinch...yeah, no!!!

I've made a ton of lists, and my friend Mary even brought me one of those clothing racks they have in stores so I could keep what I wanted out without having piles on the ground, which is really nice. It's not so much hard to choose what to bring, but the thought of finding yourself in a panic overseas if you forgot something really important. And yeah, my parents could always mail me something, but that's really not the point of the exchange to always have a safety net.

I'm a light packer by nature, but it's easy to second guess yourself even when you think you have the perfect list or whatever. I have a LOT of time left and I'm working at it daily, but if you have a really long journey coming up remember to start ahead of time because a lot of planning has to go into it if you want it to turn out right. I'm just blabbing now. I'm too excited to keep quiet...

Short Bio, get to know the adventurer.

Hi. My name is Megan.

I'm sixteen, my birthday is in December. I like cats, and road maps that can be turned into fashion bandanas...I work at an independent bookstore called The Bookman. I'm a gardener and I love the woods. I love my best friends. I have two. The first is Alex, who's just a month younger than me, and Mary who's just about to turn 52. Other close friends are Evan, Emma, Sarah, and Zoe. Leaving good friends is tough but when you're heart's in the right place, they'll always be with you.

I decided to be an exchange student because I need to breathe a different kind of air. I want to learn French for future peace corps opportunities in Africa, experience a new culture, and devot myself to a new way of life.

It may not mean much to someone who hasn't studied tarot, but for this trip my cards have mapped out four stages: The first is Ruin (now). The second is the Prince of Disks. The third is The Devil. And the fourth is the Queen of Wands. Ruin washes away, burning every safe haven to the ground and demanding the creation of new beginnings. Well, there you go. I won't go into detail. It means everything to me, though.

My favorite bands are Coldplay, The Killers, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons. I love music. No matter what language you speak, no matter how twisted your walk of life, one song can illuminate a generation, or free a people. No other force has such a particular power.

What else? I love to read, write, cook, hike, bike....anything outside. I think I can easily carry these things over with me to France, so I really look forward to that.
I LEAVE IN 9 DAYS!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time and confusion glowing up ahead. (drama) 21 days.

I'm not accustomed to the life style I have now chosen. I haven't been able to leave my family and all of the crap of where I am now, all of the crying and hate. When one person is constantly on your mind and you can't escape the rejection, or the constant feeling that you aren't good enough. Like someone stabbing a knife in your back every time you walk into school in the morning because you have to face everything you felt relieved to leave at the end of the last day. You have to face every stupid thing you said, and everything you wished you had the balls to say. 

What I've chosen now is an escape. Am I running away, as an exchange student? In a way, yes. The opportunity to disappear is more tempting than anything in the whole world most of the time. But mostly it's not what I'm after. I don't know what exactly I want out of this exchange at all........I don't think the rotarians would be happy to hear that, but I don't really care. Something's pulling me away from here, it's pulling me towards a different language and different people and experiences that usually belong to older girls. Even though I'll be Seventeen years old this year, I've always felt like a little kid who doesn't get the joke. It's harder for me to connect with people my age, and what makes it harder is my condition of attention deficit disorder (oops, cats out of the freaking bag...). It doesn't always make me feel good about myself, and naturally the feeling is to turn to substance or destructive behavior. I'm so done with all of that shit. It's not worth it, and I don't need it. 

It gets rough when I think about how easily people can fade from you. More than anything you don't want to lose them, but you have no legitimate reason for any more communication. You want to reach out but fear being shot down. You're moving halfway around the world, willingly, and you want to spit in their face for letting you. They're gone like puffs of smoke, clouds of water vapor that get sucked into the sky. You're still standing on the ground. Or are you the water vapor? No. For once I'm standing on the ground. 

The boundaries that we've set for ourselves are our cages. Those who are free have put no limits on how far they're willing to go for the things they want or the people they love. And I wish that I was one of them. 

I've jumped around A LOT, this is more of a personal journal entry than a blog post, but I am feeling most of these things because of my upcoming exchange. Hahah I don't usually put my feelings on the internet, but it's tough right now because there's a lot of negative energy coming from home, and I'm working like a dog so I don't have to hang around there. 

I'm going to start over, in a way, I don't have a choice. The part of me that won't change is the part that cares so deeply for the select few that have made such a difference in my life here. Whether they know it or not. I'd like to think, mostly, that I'm not running away but that I'm running TO. 

There are 21 days left until I leave America. 

"Seek the light in between. Time and confusion glowing up ahead." -Brandon Flowers