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Published: November 30th 2011
After arriving home from London, it was Halloween. I LOVE Halloween and dressing up, even though I am 21. I just really love, love, love Halloween. So I was a little bummed to be missing out this year. However, since my host family lives out in the suburbs, there were like 12 trick-or-treaters that came to the door. That's A LOT for France. These kids dont really know the rules of trick-or-treating though so I taught them how to say "betises ou bonbons" before they got candy. Then one of the other American students had a Halloween party. I didnt have a costume so I simply wore the random souvenirs I bought in Paris. It was a lot of fun and I was happy to share Halloween with not only Americans, but a lot of the other international students in our program. It was nice to be a goofball and dance the night away. That is one thing I do find difficult about living in France is that my silliness is not acceptable here. I can be goofy with my host family which is great, but all other times it can be a little restricting.
Anywho, it seems to be that November was really the time when I started really getting the hang of living in France and I became more comfortable and more at home here. It was funny because at the beginning I said that France was that different than the US, but they are quite different and I have come to accept and appreciate the differences. It is not a bad thing that there are differences, but it is good to recognize and understand them and that is really what I did at the beginning of the month. It is strange now because I will be in a certain situation and know that it would be completely different in America. Or I'll find myself doing something and say, "Wow, that was French. or Wow, that was American." It is also interesting that I have never been one to be uber patriotic or brag that I am American, but now that I am here in France, I find myself appreciating a lot of little things about America and our culture, or defending certain American viewpoints or ways of life. It seems that I have become "more American", if you will, after leaving America.
November has also been a month were I have really started to get to know my students and find a good balance in teaching English, but also American culture. I taught my 2nd graders Old McDonald at the beginning of the year and one week two of the students brought in their violins and accompanied the class. It was a wonderful moment. Even my middle schoolers can be pretty cool at times. I have enjoyed teaching here so much that I have applied to TAPIF (teaching assitantship program in France) to possibly have a job as an English teacher in France next year.
Lastly, November has been a month were I am falling in love with my host family. I have so many cherished memories with them now. When I got home from London, Cecile jumped up from the couch yelling, MEG! and gave me a big hug and later she, Virginie, Claudie and I all swayed and sang together to Adele's "Someone Like You." Lauren, the dad, and I have watched a lot of soccer and movies together after dinner every night. I have played many a game of ping pong and chess with Damien. I have watched Nathan play soccer and I have colored a lot of pictures with him. We have played this board game "Incollables" which is like Trivial Pursuit, for hours together. It is now mandatory that I go upstairs while the boys brush their teeth and then I tuck them in and say "Goodnight my brothers" and they say "Goodnight my sister." This is probably the most bittersweet thing of all; I have grown so close to my host family and now I have to leave. I am so blessed to be with such an amazing family. It has been a huge help in enjoying my time here to the fullest. I can honestly say that I love them and that they are my "French Family."
So all in all, I am loving livng in France now that I realize and accept the differences and have figured out the ins and outs of everyday life. Of course, I only have 17 days left, but I am glad that I know I am able to adapt and function in another country and culture. I realize that I am so much more open to trying everything and taking more risks. I take advantage of more local events and am definitely more comfortable traveling, even on my own. i am definitely more relaxed about the little things too and I dont let the bumps along the road of life stress me out as much. Though I do appreciate doing things my way, I have come to realize that other ways are just as effective/efficient and that sometimes in trying a new approach, you learn that it is better. Dont worry, I am the same old Meg, I just have more prespective about life and my own culture. I have grown a lot personally and I think that it is great.
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