I have less than 5 weeks left in France. This fact has left me feeling even more emotionally confused than I felt when I left in August. That time, I was leaving home for a place that was completely unfamiliar to me. I had no idea what to expect and was completely lost for a couple of weeks, but that was normal. In June I’ll be leaving this place I’ve come to call home and walking back into a life I’ve been essentially absent from for 10 months. The problem is that not only have I changed, but everything back home has changed too, so I’ll have to re-learn the way of life I grew up in. Does that make sense? It’s really hard to explain, and I think it’s something only other exchange students can really get. But I’ve heard this analogy for exchange students: home country life is like looking through a blue lens, host country life is like looking through a yellow lens, and you see everything through a green lens.
Despite all these feelings, I still can’t really believe I’m leaving so soon. It’s still this far-off event that isn’t actually going to happen, like the dream vacation everyone plans for but never actually goes on.
Anyways. Today I went on a bike ride and saw a lot of horses and a dude paragliding. I’m going to miss country life. Here’s a list of things that are incredibly convenient to know in French. Sorry for all the parentheses.
- bref = literally brief, but used like anyways
- truc = thing
- miette = crumb
- pain de mie = sliced bread (any bakery bread is just pain)
- canapé = couch
- une soirée = a party
- feuille = lined piece of paper
- bic = ballpoint pen
- crayon gris = pencil
- correspondant(e) (etrangèr(e))= (foreign) exchange student
- le monde entier = the whole world
- tout le monde = everyone
- personnage = character
- charactère = caricature
- dehors/dedans = inside/outside
- en haut/en bas = upstairs/downstairs
- série = TV series like Glee, The Office, The Vampire Diaries, etc.
- émission = reality show like The Amazing Race, Ellen, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, etc.
- virgule (which is very hard to say and kind of sounds like ver-geuihy) = comma
- haie = hedge
- Doliprane or ibubrofène = pain relief medicine
- gouter = snacktime and to taste - Je peux gouter? = Can I try (a food)?
- t’inquiète pas or t’inquiète = don’t worry
- laisse-moi (tranquille) = leave me alone
- n’importe quoi = anything/ridiculous/bullshit
- j’en ai besoin = I need
- je m’en fiche (more polite) or je m’en fou = I don’t care
- tant pis = it doesn’t matter/oh well
- il/elle marche pas = it doesn’t work
- j’ai envie/j’ai pas envie = I feel like it/I don’t feel like it
- ça fait chier = that sucks
- je savais pas = I didn’t know
- il faut = must (il faut que tu = you must)
- when greeting an older person you don’t know very well, say “Bonjour Madame” or “Bonjour Monsieur”
- Père Noël is not the same thing as St. Nicholas
- especially if you have younger host siblings, look up holiday stories and traditions so you don’t accidentally burst anyone’s childhood bubble
- In France every day is assigned to a certain saint. French people have saint names and not middle names, and when someone says it’s their fête they mean it’s the day of the saint they’re named after.
- learn fork, spoon, knife, plate, and glass before you go because somehow I didn’t know those and it was embarassing when my host family quizzed me
- there are certain times in English when you can but don’t have to use the word “that”, like in the sentence “The house (that) Jack built.” In French, que = that and you always have to use it (side note: in English, add unnecessary thats in essays to make them longer)
- learn body parts and how to explain when you’re sick or hurt; you’ll be glad you did
- don’t say salut to teachers, and use vous with them
- get friendly with the people in your class; you’ll be spending a lot of time with them
- try not to go overboard on unhealthy foods in the beginning; you have all year to try stuff
- always lock bathroom doors
- talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk talk
I have a lot planned for the next month. History, Art, English, and Science tests, packing, a marriage, a grocery store shopping spree, packing, taking photos of EVERYTHING, more packing, and hopefully a trip to the movies to see The Great Gatsby.
Until next time,