I've never done this whole blogging thing before. I have to say I really like the idea, but I know myself too well to really say that I will keep this thing up to date. I'll do my best though. The aim of this is really to just keep a record of what happened during my year abroad. Although an added bonus of letting my friends and family know what I am up to, this is really for future A.J.
So, future A.J., here is what is going through your head a week and three days before you leave for Paris. You are really freaked out. I remember when I studied abroad in High School, the summer between my junior and senior year, it didn't hit me until I was walking off the plane in Nice. I was 17 and a content and ocean away from anyone I knew. This time, I will still be that far, but I know a few people in my program. That at least is allowing me to keep some sort of sanity while working my last week and a half at the VC. The weird thing is that I am really nervous though. The anxious anticipation for being immersed in a culture that although not that much different than ours, and one that I have been studying for over six years (with little avail... just ask my French 26 prof) seems to be hitting be now. About once an hour I get butterflies, who from the feel of it, must be throwing up.
But there is a lot to look forward to. I got confirmation of my homestay family. I will be living with a woman, who (I hope) is aptly named Mme Bonhomme. She has a four bedroom flat in Paris. One of those rooms is mine. It is located in the 5th just across from the Sorbonne. From what GoogleMaps tells me, there is a metro stop just down the block from the house. I don't really know much more than that. I e-mailed her, but she hasn't e-mailed me back.
I am not really sure why I am going to France. I knew that from my Freshman year of High School I would be studying abroad there, but I didn't really know why. It was just one of those things that was expected of me (not necessarily by anyone else). Now that the time draws closer though, I really started thinking about it, and why I want to go. Sure, it is going to be really cool to come back completely fluent in French, having lived in one of the most amazing cities in the world, etc., but I think there is more. My thoughts keep going back to my grandfather, who passed away about two weeks ago. He lived an incredible life, with a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And I keep thinking that I am going over there to make him proud.
I know that I am going to have a great time. When I was there before I was petrified to the point where I almost fainted walking down the jetway going to the baggage claim in Nice. In the six weeks I was there in high school, I survived leaving my luggage under the transfer bus between CDG and ORL in Paris, having my Host mother have no idea I was arriving the day I did, barely speaking French, almost getting into a fist fight (which is a story for another day), and almost getting on the wrong train when trying to get to Avingnon. I did all of that by myself. And this time I will have the help of EAP (kind of... again, a post for a later day), plus the benefit of friends all over Europe and a few in the same program I am in.
This is going to be the start of an amazing year. I can tell