Friday, September 23, 2011

One Month on "The Road"

One Month in France. What are some words to describe it... 

The Best. Difficult. Really hard. Adjustment. Rewarding. Bread. Wine. Life changing. Sunshine. Animals. Amazing new friends. The most free and beautiful I've felt in my life. Heart ache. Early mornings. Lots of sleep. Thicker Hair. Clearer skin. Out of breath. Less temper. Learning, always learning. Life lessons, a new language, about people. Stupid mistakes. Big decisions. Break throughs. 

I love my friends here. I love my family. I love discovering new things about myself. I'm a lot tougher than I thought, a lot stronger and smarter. I don't talk as much (there's really no way I could) because I've learned that those who have wisdom to share speak little, while those who don't--keep talking until they find something worth saying. 

I've learned the only way to truly learn a language is to throw yourself into a new culture and country and do the work there. Sorry, hopeful eighth graders in Spanish I--you will never become fluent or even close to precocious until you've lived in it. I thought I was hot stuff coming out of French III-I had a great teacher, I studied, I really thought I had a lot down. 

HAHAHA. When you arrive in the culture and people are blabbing a million miles an hour around you--they may as well be speaking gibberish. But progress is made when you do the ground work and STUDY, REPEAT concentrate 110% (Christine) and focus all of your energy into understanding what the hell the person next to you is talking about. 

At first it seems fruitless, pointless, how will you ever understand? But then you have your first dream in french. And then you say your first word without even thinking before speaking. And today, my teacher was going on a long rant about a writer--I was doodling in my notebook, perusing a french grammar book and copying verbs, being good. But then I stopped to listen for a second and (holy flapjack) I understood something. 

She muttered incredibly fast (they all speak at the speed of light) <<voulez-vous dites quelque chose?>>


I scribbled in my notebook WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY SOMETHING and shoved it over to Clementine, who was sitting next to me. She laughed at me (always does) and told me it was right. (EN FETE CLEMENTINE EN FETE)

So you must be patient. But progress will happen. I'm already speaking much faster, understanding a much more VAST amount of vocabulary and grammar then I did when I arrived. My host Dad predicts I'll be fluent in a month (or at least close) and they've had exchange students from America before. But today was inspiring to me, so I'm not going on facebook for at least a month after I post the link to this blog entry. 

On another note, being in this unique and (sometimes) wonderfully odd family has made me grow up. Sometimes I don't like it, but I feel like for the first time I'm managing to be a responsible human being. It feels okay to be turning 17 soon. I'm ready for that number because I already feel so much older. 

Being here has made me strong. It's what I needed and I'm doing my best even though I screw up sometimes. And it took such a vast amount of courage to get here already, and I'm not about to whine to come home when things seem bleak or retreat into the insecure girl that I was. I'm taking every opportunity to make every second count. If the next nine months are as life changing as this one, I'm worried about not being recognized when I come back to Michigan. 



  1. Oh Meg! I hope everything you write is "really" true! Good for you and how brave to be doing what you are doing. Your note brings tears to my eyes. I am so very proud of you! (and envious, I so wish someone had offered this to me at your age.) Experience all that you can. You are right. Grand Havenites, will have to re-acquaint themselves to the "new" you. Don't you dare slip into old habits. Move forward. Move forward. My mantra. Don't look back. love you.