Yesterday I felt a sudden bout of homesickness, perhaps in part due to the unrelenting chain of Facebook statuses joyously celebrating the arrival of Thanksgiving Break.
And while I get to feast at a fancy restaurant tomorrow, at the moment home seems quite far away. I've been dealing with lots of little frustrations (though typical for any November). While attempting to use blog entry to get rid of them yesterday, I found myself making a "thankful" list to balance them out. How appropriate, eh?
To keep from putting a damper on the beginning of this holiday season, I think I'll leave the "negatives" until the end, when I do a retrospective on what I've learned.
In the meantime, here are some of the unexpected joys I've found in my time here.
Tuesday and Wednesday mornings:
My class covering the construction of the European Union. Ironically, it's the only one for which I'm not getting French credit, but rather that last Poli-Sci distributive I need as a liberal arts student. I'm really getting a grasp on European politics (though from a French perspective) from a professor that's lived through it all; he's probably near 80, incredibly patient with our lack of European knowledge, and with the driest sense of humor. He makes it a habit to note how the British always do things differently from everyone else.
Lunch with my host mom, as we both have classes only in the mornings. This means a full meal (compared to my cheap baguette-ham-camembert sandwiches) and a conversation that's guaranteed to be lively and educational. And I get to properly practice my French .
Agape, the non-denominational Christian international youth group. It's here more than anywhere else that I've discovered a real sense of community - it's too bad I didn't know about it sooner! Everyone is so welcoming and understanding, offering fellowship in a mix of French, English, and a handful of other languages. I even played the hand-drum one night with the worship group!I never expected to find such a warm Christian community in the middle of France and its infamous secularism.
My salsa class at the university sports center (which I think I've neglected to mention until now). Even if my confidence is down after an off-day of speaking French, I know I can go to Salsa and perform the steps with ease, alongside Heidi and a few other IES friends. And because I attend regularly, dancing with an amalgamation of French and foreign students is less intimidating, as I can now recognize many of their faces.
AND I get to go to a soccer match on Friday night! Their version is bound to be more exciting than our version - I'm sure it will be quite the unique experience. Stay tuned!
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