“…the dynamic process in which the behavior and physiological mechanisms of an individual continutally change to adjust to variations in living conditions.”
my saturday afternoon
Happy October! I cannot believe it’s already here…I’ve been in France for almost two months?
Time has been flying by– Yes, I’ll admit the school week sometimes drags on and on but overall life is moving along at the perfect speed. The pace of my life here has evolved to a stage at which I have the time to both appreciate simple pleasures (language, family, food, culture) and build an interesting schedule of activities and outings… a balance that was almost impossible to achieve last year in the US amidst college applications and a heavy academic/extracurricular workload.
School has gotten much easier- I’m not totally exhausted at the end of the school day anymore, I receive very satisfactory grades and I have a growing number of friends/classmates to socialize with. The professors seem very content with my efforts and my french is getting better– both in the “ability to comprehend science lectures” way and the “ability to connect with classmates” way.
There’s a bit of an embargo on english at home here instituted by my host mom with the intent to accelerate my adaptation to/mastery of french language (although I do sneak in the occasional side conversation in english every so often with my host dad or sister) and it’s actually a really good thing- I appreciate her taking interest in my learning process and it’s honestly not that hard at all anymore to go about my home and school life pretty much completely in French. (hooray!)
I’ve experienced an almost indescribable development of inner calm and satisfaction over the last few weeks that I haven’t felt in months (or longer!) At home I almost always had either some big structured obligation looming in the horizon that caused me anxiety or a bunch of murky unknowns that I felt an uncomfortable impulse to systematically analyze and formulate into an efficient, logical plan… but at the moment I don’t really know what’s ahead…in a really good way. There’s a whole lotta potential for exploration and adventure in this “new reality” but I luckily feel no real stress or pressure to meticulously scrutinize each possible route/opportunity as I’ve slowly become accustomed to in recent year. I should explain…of course, working through the obligations and strategizing the unknowns gives me a lot of satisfaction, but right now I think I’m discovering a new, different type of contentment that has different origins (mom and dad I hope this development makes you very happy!)
Of course, this isn’t to say that the beginnings of the adaptation process have been perfect and wonderful all the time…or that I won’t have difficult times in the months ahead–I certainly have had phases of homesickness and there’s surely more of that to come, but I’m optimistic…I think I’ve maybe gotten through one of the first stages of adjustment…”Adaptation- Part I.” How many installments will this series feature? Time will tell I guess!
So, let’s see…what’s new over here to write about? Well, it’s certainly not news but…I love the weekend. The French love the weekend. Everyone loves the weekend. Last weekend was full of Rotary activities- a sort of short retreat where all the students living in the district got together. We went to an amusement park in a city nearby and although the weather was not very nice, we certainly amused ourselves (and because of the rain pretty much had the whole park to ourselves.) Saturday night was spent bowling and eating together and on Sunday we had an outing to an aquatic center and then the Museum of the Iron Mines (not my favorite museum in the world, but we did get to go down in the mines for a while which was neat).
The Rotary outings are always cool as we all get to compare stories of our experiences thus far in France as well as discuss the differences between life here and life at home (wherever that may be…Mexico, Russia, Finland, Brazil…etc etc) People always share really interesting observations of life in France that I would’ve probably never made myself–illustrates how one’s history continues to shape the way one percieves one’s surroudings even when “transplanted” to a completely different setting…but I guess that’s to be expected, right? It’s almost like the world gets a little bit smaller each time we all come together (sorry… yeah I know that’s really corny…)
This weekend has been great so far too–Starting to feel a little more independent (got a cellphone this week…yeahh!)–I went out Friday night with a number of friends from school to celebrate a birthday and had a very nice evening…une bonne soiree. I didn’t stay out too late, but in general the French really love to keep the party going for a long time!
saturday mornings in metz mean…pain au chocolat
Saturday I took a train in the morning with a fellow Thionvillian Rotary Exchange student, Sasha from Russia, to Metz to meet with our friend Emily (also Rotary student, from Pennsylvania who lives near Metz) Love the european transportation- the train took less than 20 minutes and was totally hassle-free. The three of us had a nice morning shopping…and eating really good pastries….and shopping some more.
In the afternoon we met up with 4 other Rotary students who also spent the day in Metz too- 2 boys and 1 girl from Mexico (Jorge, Edgar and Vivi) and Andrea from Argentina. We went to a cafe together and walked around the town (I love Metz…and adding to my more european-looking wardorbe…I’m convinced that has helped the adaptation process haha)
This post is a little change of pace for me- a bit less “newsy” and more “reflective.” I’m a little self conscious about it (..according to the statistics section of WordPress, since I made my blog at the end of August I’ve had over 750 page visits…wahoo!)…but I think it’s a good exercise and I’m creating collection of writings I’ll value in the future.
So, in short…I’m really content. Starting to feel more comfortable in my new life…habituated I suppose? And in regards to blogging, I’m just happy to have good things to share- it’s a process!