Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I've Stopped Writing

It's hard for me to write in English now--tiring--and I'd rather just speak French.
Life is normal for me, now. I still LOVE it here but reporting on things has gotten a lot less interesting.

Those are my excuses. They're true, but they're nothing I couldn't overcome if I wanted to. After a lot of reflection (too much...), what I've come up with, as far as a real reason, is the following:

I think I started blogging in the first place as a way to be sure I still existed. At first (pretty normal for an exchange student, I think) I felt fairly un-connected to the people around me. I didn't know them yet, really, so how could I love them?

But that's different now. It's been a gradual process, the whole connecting-with-people thing, and you can see it in the way the frequency of my posts diminishes. Now I have people here who love me and who look out for me--my host family, in particular, and my two closest friends at school. So I'm connected to them, and I have no desire to publish my life. The people who are HERE, NOW, are more important at the moment than the people on the other end of the fiberoptic cables or whatever it is that carries the internet. Real life is more fulfilling.

To my family and friends in Murka: All my apologies. I still love you, and I'll tell you everything when I get back.

PS I'll write one more time, at the end of the year, to sum everything up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Le Foot et le Salon du Livre

On Wednesday afternoon I played soccer (le foot) with my little host brother. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, and the wind was gusting: a typical March day. It was fun, even if Hugo does run circles around me. I've only ever played on a soccer team once, last year, and Hugo, while not professional, has clearly had some intense training during recess at school.

He can lift the ball into the air with his foot, put spin on it, and head it into the goal. I'm Inspired. I like baseball/softball better, but for the moment, I'm in France, and so soccer shall be my substitute.

Remarque: If I talk about le foot, people tend to think I mean le foot américain. And thoughtful people are always trying to spell my name L-U-C-Y. It's nice of them to be considerate of my Americanness, I guess, but I wish they'd spell my name right.

On another subject, I got to go to the Salon du Livre in Paris, which is a huge convention of publishers and authors and things. Do those exist in America? I hope so. Because it was cool. I loved the atmosphere (so book-y), and I got to meet my new favorite author (!), who happened to be there signing books. In case anyone cares, he's Jean-Michel Guenassia, author of Le Club des Incorrigibles Optimistes. My host family gave the book to me for Christmas, and I loved every one of its seven-hundred-and-something pages. The story was beautiful.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have lots of excuses, particularly TIMEPASSESTOOFAST. I love it here. I wish I could think of a stronger word than love, but my vocabulary is pretty limited what with not speaking much English lately. And not reading much English. (AHEM. Where's my March Atlantic, mom?)

So I could write about learning to ski, or the AFS outing to see the Quartier latin, or all the time I'm spending in Paris on the weekends now that the weather is warm and sunny.

But I've already told those stories to people, and they're stale. Instead, here's a post about la langue française, which interests ME, at any rate.

Things I've Noticed, a List in No Particular Order
  • I figured out how to say like in French, in the Valley Girl sense of the word. The word is genre but when it means like you have to make it all mumbly and simltaneously make an N come out your nose and swallow an R. I haven't mastered the pronunciation, which is unfortunate because I like that word. Genre.
  • Kinetic energy = l'énergie cinétique with a C. So are the words kinetic and cinema related? (That blew my mind for an entire Physics class...So maybe I'm a little more littéraire than scientifique.)
  • I learned in French class that ball = le ballon but actually ball = la balle. La balle means bullet too, which is the basis for this really funny ad that comes on before NCIS on Fridays (which I always watch. I don't know if it's good in English, but dubbed in French, it's hilarious.).
  • The way you say To feel lazy (rough translation) is avoir la flemme.
  • I spent almost an entire Bio class wondering what bourgeon, a key word in the lesson, meant. Towards the end I figured out that it means bud, like in burgeoning in English, but until then, it was like morphogenèse des végétaux-themed MadLibs! There is absolutely nothing as wonderful as not being fluent.
  • I have a whole new ski-themed vocabulary that I only know how to say in French! dérapage, chasse-neige, bosse, téléski...gamelle (well, that last one means a wipeout, but it was probably my Most-Used Word that week, so it bore mentioning).

Happy now? Good. Until next month, dear readers,

With love,


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm Number (forty-)ONE!

My blog got ranked as the forty-first best exchange blog by!

Thanks for voting!

(And 41 is a much nicer number than, say, 1. Really. It means I have room for improvement.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Semaine Blanche

This week is exam week (semaine blanche in French) for me! Fun! So far I've failed a French written test (on humorous poetry; if there are two things I don't understand in French, they're humor and poetry...), failed a math test (but to a lesser degree than most of my classmates, I think), and DOMINATED MY FRENCH ORAL TEST! 17 out of 20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so proud of that. I almost speak French!

Tomorrow I'll pass Physique-Chimie, Thursday I'll fail SVT (biology), and Friday I get to go on a field trip. All in all a good week, since I only have two hours of testing a day. (Except Monday, when I had five hours, all in a row and all for French class, but that's over with now, thank God.)

I'm going to go study now, I think. Blah.

Le jour de Saint Valentin

Moderately interesting cultural difference, right here:

My real mom
sent me some of those heart-shaped candies for Valentine's Day (the ones that say I <3 U and CUTIE; you know the ones I mean), enough to share with people here.

My host mom
thought it was weird that I was sharing candy with people, because apparently in France Valentine's day is exclusively pour les amoureux, and if you give candy to someone it Means Something.

I shared the candy anyway, with my best American smile.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I love AFS!

Okay, so. I'm sorry for not posting lately--I've had some technical difficulties with internet access.

This weekend I went to the AFS orientation that marks the halfway point in my exchange. Five months have flown by, and I'm glad I don't have to go home just yet. I feel like everything can only get better from here. (To any future AFSers, the answer to the year vs. semester question is very clear, to me anyway. Year, point final.)

At the orientation we did a bunch of activities to help us evaluate our relationships with our host families, at school, etc. During the weekend I have to admit that I didn't find any of it very helpful, partly because being with other AFSers always makes me homesick--with my host family I can forget I'm not at home, but when everyone is foreign, it's harder not to remember that I Belong somewhere else. But afterward, when I was back home, I realized that the orientation had been helpful without my noticing it. I've re-found my courage, and at school yesterday, I had the psychological energy to be more outgoing than I've been in a long time. So that's good.

The best part of the orientation, moral support aside, was--Ready? Okay. One of the exchangers had the idea to have everyone sing "Frère Jacques" ("...dormez-vous? dormez-vous? Sonnent les matines..." You know the song I mean, no?) in his or her native language. So now I've heard that song in Turkish, Czech, Chinese, German, Swedish, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Norwegian (and English and French). It was cool.

Also, the orientation was the first time I had seen some of the other exchangers since September, and Things had Changed. The shy kids were braver; the loud kids knew when to shut up; etc. And everyone was much more mature.

So, Go with AFS! It's good for you! (This week I signed up to promote AFS at school, so I might as well promote it on my blog too. I wouldn't if I weren't _entirely_ sincere. I really do believe that it's something everyone needs to do.)

And as a final shameless plug: Vote for me! I'm not running for president (yet), but my blog is in the running for the 100 best exchange blogs contest on So please vote for me! (Click on the icon in the top lefthand corner of my blog.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vacation Alphabet

Age de Glace: Hugo got all the Ice Age movies on DVD for Christmas and we watched them three nights in a row. Scrat needs no translation. It was nice to laugh.

Belote: It's a card game that my host family plays all the time. I played a lot of it in Corsica. ("Let's go for a hike!" "It's raining." "Never mind. Belote, then?") It's the most ridiculously complicated game ever--a nine is worth more than a king but only sometimes, etc.--but now that I've got the hang of it, I like it.

Corsica: We spent the second week of vacation en Corse. It was beautiful--the landscapes reminded me a little of the Texas hill country, with the obvious exception of la mer Mediterranée. As alluded to in B, it rained almost all the time, but it was still warmer than it is here, so that was nice.

Driving: I don't even want to know how many hours we spent in the car.

Eating: I don't even want to know how many hours we spent at the table. The food was always really good (with one notable exception) but even I, gourmande that I am, could only stand so much before I never wanted to eat again. My longest meal was the family Christmas meal in the North of France, I think: We started our apéro at 11:30 a.m. and had dessert at nine p.m.

France: In spite of what AFS says about culture shock, I'm still madly in love with France (if somewhat critical of the school system). Or more accurately, I love the people around me. They're French; ipso facto I love France.

Grenoble: I spent two days in Grenoble with my host dad's parents on the way to Corsica. It interesting experience.

Homesickness: Surprisingly enough, I didn't get very homesick. I felt happy and secure with my host family, and while I thought about my US family a lot, I was content to love them from a different continent.

Introspection: I've had time to think about myself and what I really want this year. The result-- my life goals are slowly but surely shifting away from overachieving and towards the pursuit of happiness. (Sorry. Getting back to more factual/interesting information...)

Jésus: is the reason for the season. (Nothing else starts with J.)

Kids: We accidentally went to the kid-friendly Christmas Eve church service. The whole thing about French kids being better-behaved than their American counterparts? False.

Livres: I got five books for Christmas, plus peanut butter and wool socks. People have me figured out.

Marrons grillés: I ate roasted chestnuts for the first time on a street in Grenoble. Talk about picture-perfect memories...

No limeet: The motto my host family adopted for Christmas break to avoid conflicts, with the idea that no one would refuse something to someone else if he could help it. It was in English, because English is the Cool Language in France (a lot of ads and stuff are partly in English, with a French translation in a footnote), but "limit" was pronounced "limeet," à la française.

Old: My (American) LITTLE brother turned thirteen. That makes me old. I don't know whether I want to grow up or not, but I'm leaning more towards Not. Oh well.

Puy-en-Velay: I went to Le Puy-en-Velay (a town in the Massif Central) during vacation, too. I visited a cathedral where they had all the bishops' names listed since before 800 AD. I continue to be amazed by how old things can be in France.

Quaint: I got to see the little village where my host mom grew up.

Raclette: It's a traditional winter dish. You melt cheese in a cheese-melter thing and then spread it on potatoes and charcuterie. I liked it (it's essentially just a plateful of animal fat and potatoes) but it's kind of heavy, to say the least. I'm not enthusiastic about having it again because I ended up eating it three times in one week (it's the sort of thing you eat at a Convivial Family Gathering, and if you have three different CFGs all in a row,then too bad for you).

School: Not having to go to school was kind of a relief. I was happier just being with my host family, and there were two other sixteen-year-olds to keep me company (my host brother and his cousine).

Tempête: We took a ferry to Corsica, and it was fine. It took about six hours. We took a ferry back from Corsica, and it was NOT fine. There was a tempête the night we were supposed to leave, so the ferry delayed its departure until the next morning. We had nowhere else to go, though, so we had to sleep in the cabins on the ferry anyway (boarding time: 21h00). It was awfully rocking-y on the boat, even in the port. We left the port at 11 the next morning, and the seas just got rougher and rougher, to the point that the ferry captain opted to take a longer route that was safer because it stayed closer to the coast. So instead of getting to Toulon at 17h00, we got there at 20h00, twenty-three hours after we had gotten on the ferry. It was horrible--the first time I had experienced motion sickness since...since ever, really. Oh well.

Umbrella: (This one's for you, Daddy.) Hervé got one for Christmas and opened it to try it out while we were inside. But no bad luck was forthcoming.

Voeux: The French (or my family anyway) make New Year's wishes in addition to resolutions. I decided I like that tradition better, so this year I just made wishes. (They're secret.)

Writing: I wrote in my journal every day, comme d'hab.

eXtraordinary: It was an eXtraordinary vacation in an eXtraordinary year for an ordinary but eXtraordinarily grateful girl.

Yule log: (bûche de Noël but I've already used B and N) The traditional Christmas dessert in France is a cake decorated to look like a log. I know the history but it's not that interesting so I'll skip it. I think I ate de la bûche de Noël on four separate occasions? Yes, four. We had a lot of people to celebrate Christmas with.

Zig: I played Scrabble in French with both grandmothers, one of whom is a serious internet Scrabble player. ZIG is an accepted word, as is WU. I'll never use them in conversation, but they're worth lots of points in Scrabble, so they're useful acquisitions. I guess.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I'm happy.

I had all sorts of adventures over Christmas break (like being on a ferry during a tempest, and eating roasted chestnuts for the first time [not simultaneously]), and I may post about them soon but not now because I have to go to school.