Monday, July 3, 2017

My Last Moments Living My Dream

        A childhood dream: to live something completely different than what I was used to, to see new places, to speak a new language. That's all it took to send me far away from almost everything and everyone I knew on August 31st, 2016.

       A childhood dream and the will to succeed was all I held on to during the trying moments of December 26th, and all the other bad hours of my exchange when I could think of almost nothing more agreeable than to be in the presence of my natural family. The language had me fed up, I realized maintaining relationships here was more complicated than I thought, it was hard to find a good balance with communication with those in the US, etc.

      Adult pride is all I have now as I look back on these past ten months and say "They were some of the hardest months of my life, but they were some of the best." I've finally come to accept it.  In just five days, I will go. I will go back to those people who were all I knew that afternoon on August 31st, 2016, tripping over and dropping all of my luggage in the process of going to greet those who will be waiting for me in the airport as French words come out of my mouth, I'm sure.

      All I want these last days is to make the best of it while preparing myself as best I can to go back. That's been my goal all month, and I think I've been pretty successful. Last week was wonderful. My host dad came home for lunch every day, which allowed us to spend time together. Once again, I packed my suitcase all by myself, and almost everything weighed what it was supposed to the first time! (It wasn't that everyone refused to help me. It was just that I wanted to do it alone.) I was a little concerned because everyone had started packing well before me. However, now it's a little annoying because now I am living out of my suitcase a little too early. I hate that but that's what I get for being a wanderlust! 

      Wednesday was different. I went to my friend's house and let them dress me up and put my make-up on, which never really happens. My host dad greeted me at the door with a camera before taking us all to the school dance. I had never gone to the school dance in the US because I found it was a waste of time, especially if you didn't have a date or a big group of friends, but this time I decided to give it a try in a culture where having a boyfriend isn't as emphasized and I am well integrated in my school. I ended up loving it. I heard my friend speak English, as he knew almost all of the songs by heart. (He's usually too concerned about his accent so I never hear him.) My host dad was kind enough to pick us up from the dance despite having to work early the next morning. My friends spent the night at my house, and we had some more memorable moments the next morning. Some of my favorites were waking Elsa up, which took about as long as it usually does for me, and Laurentin's reaction when I gave him a real dollar bill. He said "Oh, thank you!" and then sat down on the bed to analyze it. I then sat down with him to explain everything, such as the president and the sayings, but he knew about it already.

       The day I've been waiting for has finally come! I received the news Thursday that I passed the DELF B1 and B2, which means that not only can I speak French fluently, but I can present and defend my opinion. It is normally a sufficient level for many colleges as well. After five years, I can finally say I have the French level I've always wanted. Of course, that does not stop me from learning new words every day and my desire to get even better. Along with my DELF scores, my host parents forced me to check out my SAT scores. I did better than I thought. My host mom reminds me that I have to take into consideration the fact that I prepared for this test in a few months all by myself while those in the US were probably preparing longer, and not surrounded by their second language.

        I'm expecting this week to be pretty calm, yet emotional. My only special plan before my departure is a day with my friends, as they are more available now because they are finishing up their tests. That will be my final goodbye for many, except for those who will bid their goodbyes at the train station Saturday.  

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