Monday, July 23, 2012

My attempt at sorting out my brain

I doubt there is anyone who is still checking up on this blog, but I really need to place these feelings I've been having somewhere, and this is the only place I could think of. Maybe it will be useful to other returnees or exchange students or whoever else, I don't know.

So it's been exactly 16 days that I have been back home. That seems very little, but honestly, it feels as though it's been ages since I've been in France. And that's not necessarily a good thing. AFS warns you about reverse culture shock, and warns you about how hard returning home is, but honestly, no one listens or takes it seriously. We're all mostly really excited to return home and see all of our family and friends, that we couldn't ever believe how being home could ever seem anything other than what it always was. We expect everything to be the same, which it is, but we don't realise that the one thing that has changed is us. It's like removing a piece from a puzzle and bending it in a different way and trying to replace it in the same spot. It won't work. It might still be able to be placed there, but it won't be a perfect fit as it was before. That's how I feel. But worse.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be at home. I've missed my parents so much, and have learned over the course of last year how incredibly blessed I am to have been given the family I have. Being back into my actual physical home has been no problem. But beyond that, I don't feel like I fit anywhere. I'm seeing all the wonderful people that I've missed while being gone, and I'm glad, but part of me is resisting. I'm doing all of the old things I enjoyed, but I can't handle it. I feel that I'm having fun, and I'm laughing, and smiling, but the whole of the emotion doesn't sink in. I can't enjoy things thoroughly anymore. When people ask me how being back is, all I can say is "weird" because honestly, I don't know how to explain it to anyone who hasn't personally experienced it. Because it's such an intangible feeling.

I'm no longer the same person I was before I left. And honestly, the person I've discovered while abroad is the person I want to continue to grow with. But, the person I've developed only seems to have fit in the life I had in France. I was so adventurous, free, exposed to others and life in general. I was surrounded by so many different types of people in a culture that was foreign. I was constantly reminded that the world is huge and vast and inviting, and that amazing people are hidden everywhere waiting to teach you things you never even realised there was to learn. There was always something new to discover. A new church I hadn't seen before, a cute French shop tucked away in a corner street. Here, I know everything, everyone. I'm not able to savour in those advantages. So my personality that carried over isn't able to thrive as well as it did in France. That is why I feel so strange here. And that is why I'm stuck. I'm stuck because I can't return to the life I had before because I can't take away the things I've done in order to make myself the person I was before.

But I also can't return back to the life I had in France. As much as it kills me, breaks my heart, I will never be able to return to France, and have all my AFS friends waiting for me, with the same wild, open minds we had during this year. Sure, I will be able to go back and go to the same stores and buy the same delicious sandwiches and walk down the same beautiful streets, but I won't be able to call up my exchange student friends to take the bus from their houses into town, and I'll probably change even more by then as well.

Honestly, I keep having this repeating desire to just return to my very first month of exchange. I want to experience the thrill of meeting so many of the people I now love so much, and exploring the cities I really fell in love with, and feeling so blissful to be experiencing a whole new world, and a whole new side to myself that I hadn't known before. Before it started getting hard. Because I can't lie, it was hard. And it wasn't the best year of my life like people say it is.

But I would never ever take this year back. Even though it sucked the majority of the time, some of the best moments I've had have been there, and by far the most amazing people I've met where from this experience. For that reason, I'll never regret it.

And I know these feelings will probably calm down. Most returnees say the feeling of being caught between two lives never truly goes away, but that it does get better. But for now, it feels terrible.

Welly, I'm going to try to go to bed now. It's still hard to sleep, even though I've adapted to the time difference. It's been improving though.

Might just be the heat.

Monday, July 2, 2012




It's been a while.

My fault.

But hey, I've been busy !

So anyway, today marks ten months in France. I have five days til I ship off to Paris for the end orientation, and then Sunday, I'm on my plane back to the US.

That's right, in less than a week, I'll leave this whole year behind and be back in the USA.

It's crazy.

So here's to my last week in France !

I'll update when I get back !

Monday, April 30, 2012


Okay, so just before I continue, I have to tell you about this morning. So Monday mornings I have four hours (three hours of Philosophy and an hour of English) and then finish at noon and go in to town to burn time until the bus comes at 5:20 pm to take me back chez moi. Well I woke up this morning as usual, got on the bus to school, talked with Lucia and Cornelia and Misha before the bell rang, and then headed off to Philosophy. Only to find out. The teacher isn't there. And to find out that the English teacher isn't here as well. Lols, I literally have nothing to do until my bus comes in around 8 hours. It's only hilarious because this kind of thing never happens in the US. Because even if my classes were cancelled for some reason I would always be able to drive back home or even walk if necesscary. So I just thought I would share my strange situation. So I'm back in the library listening to Youtube while typing this because Youtube isn't blocked here. YEAH AWESOME. Wait... Is it blocked in the US? I actually can't remember, haha. But anyway. I also don't have school tomorrow because it's Labor Day ! Or here it's called "Fete du Travaille", but it's just hilarious because we're making up the classes we're missing tomorrow next Wednesday afternoon. What's the point of having a holiday if we're making up the classes later? Hahahahahaha it doesn't make any sense. But it will at least be nice to sleep in tomorrow.


I think I left off at Monday, so I'll just start there. Monday Erin and I woke up early much against our will and loaded all our bags into her family's van and then headed off towards the south. I would say the car ride was nice, but I don't actually know as I basically slept the entire time. I knew something was up when Erin and Manon were laughing suspiciously when I woke up, and it turned out later they took pictures. Haha, those two are sneaky; you need to be careful around them. We got to the cousin's house after about five hours and were really glad to get out and pee and then eat after. I forgot what we ate, but it involved white meat because Erin and I both looked at each other weirdly when one of the host cousins declined the offer at the white meat saying she only eats red meat. We thought that was amusing because usually it's the other way around. She was really nice, anyway. Then after dinner everyone wanted to watch Narnia. Except Erin and I decided to go into town as we wanted to get out a bit after being in the car all day. So we went out and explored around Perigueux and found a hell ton of chocolate stores. Seriously, there were at least 50 in one neighbourhood. And because it was still around Easter there were loads of chocolate cows and chickens and bunnies everywhere. I have pictures, don't worry. Then when we went back ate dinner laughed had a good time and then headed up to bed.

It was just funny because Erin and I both slept on the top bunk bed even though there was the bed underneath, and we swore we were going to break it. Everytime it squeaked or moved a bit we were like, "WE'RE GOING DOWN" and just thinking about it now is making me laugh.

Anyway Tuesday we woke up and... wait, I seriously can't remember what we did Tuesday. I think we went and saw Lascaux that day. No... wait. Did we? Yes I think we did. Well so Lascaux is the oldest known cave with cave paintings. However, they made a replica of it nearby because the real cave paintings started fading due to carbon dioxide from the visitings. So we didn't actually see it, we saw a replica made in a different cave but it was still pretty cool. There was also a museum that had a bunch of actual animals from prehistoric ages. As in scientists basically recreated the older animals using gene selection which was pretty awesome. The animals looked pretty normal though. There was a Wooly Mammoth but it was fake. Shame. There were even buffalo, lols. It reminded me of the time I ate buffalo at that buffalo burger restaurant in the west. That sounds so American now that I think of it.
Anyway, Wednesday then we went. Well man I can't remember anything until Thursday. Wait no what I'm thinking of was Friday. OMG.
I'll just finish by giving a list of things I remember us doing:

-Went to an awesome castle from the Middle Ages. Saw some catapults, dungeons, and even Erin tried on some armour. It was super cool. I'm sure Erin and I looked like spazzes pretending to be knights, but we didn't care.
-Saw really cool cliffs. I forget the actual word in English, but they are bascially cliffs. I also ate an dandelion there. It was really digusting, don't ever do that.
-Saw a really cute town that was built during the Renaissance era. OH FUNNY STORY THERE. So it was basically raining the whole time I was in the south. And we were walking in town when it started pouring rain. We didn't have umbrellas, so we panicked and started running up a random alley. There were absolutely no door steps with covers or anything remotely similar so we got soaked trying to huddle under a little concrete slab. After it let up a bit we walked back out the main street where we were only to realise that there were millions of stores with their cover things out that we could have gone too. Hahahaha we're so stupid.
- Went to a farm that made foie gras. Luckily we missed the ducks getting tubes shoved into their stomachs in order to fatten them for better liver.
-secretly ate apples in the bathroom because we were hungry and didn't know if we could or not because it was fairly late. You have no idea how many times things like this happen during exchange, actually.. I still have the picture of Eszter's banana peel stuck in the tree branch after she tried to throw it away to hide it.
-died because the host family shut off the internet towards the end each night around 10:30 and it was the only time we had to check our email bascially.

Okay I can't remember anything else really special... Plus I have to leave soon. Anyway. It was super fun. I really really enjoyed myself and hope to revisit Erin in June if I find the time :)

OKAY SEE YOU GUYS SOON. I hope my super long rambling posts don't bore you too much ;)

Friday, April 27, 2012


Hey there everyone. So I am in the CDI again, updating because I don't have class or anything else to do. Plus I really should update as I've already been back from vacation for a week. My, my time passes quite quickly, does it not? I was helping Lucia translate English expressions into French for her English class, but I just have to say half of the expressions that were on the list are hardly ever used in seriousness. They had phrases like "Good heavens!" "Fancy that!" and "Dear me!". Oh, France and your English classes...
Anyway! Vacation!

So three Saturdays ago I got up and went to class in the morning, and then headed straight into town to take the train at noon. I changed in Lyon, and I have to say I didn't mind the six hour train ride at all. I listened to music and slept a bit, and it is always nice just looking out the window at the landscape and stuff. Plus I was next to a nice lady who did crossword puzzles the whole time. I did get really excited towards the end though, which made it hard to sit still. When I got on the platform though, I basically excitedly skipped to the main waiting lobby where Erin and Matheus were waiting. I actually screamed when I saw them, and Erin screamed too, so it's easy to say we attracted a bit of attention. But, oh man, it was so nice seeing them again. And I can't describe how strange it was to revisit Angers after about 5 months of being away.. We walked out around town because Erin and I had some time before taking the train to Saumur and were going to eat in town and stuff. We walked to the castle, took pictures by the overlook, went back to the shopping streets, and the big square with the opera house. It was so nice. We took the train back and got in Saumur around 10. Surprisingly we didn't stay up late that night, and were asleep by probably 11 o clock.
So then Sunday was Easter and we just chilled around the house talking and laughing our asses off about random things. Oh! We went for a small walk as well, and almost got lost. There were barely any people though. Oh funny story, there is a monument outside of the church in her town that was made for all of the youth in the town that died during the war. Well Erin looked at it and goes, "Well that's kind of stupid there are only like 10 names". And then she walked around to the side, and the list continued on for like at least 50 other people, and there were even more on the other side. Haha.
Anyway, Monday we actually celebrated Easter. We woke up and had an Easter Egg hunt with Erin's host sister and their previous Icelandic exchange student that came to visit them for a few days. It was hilarious because we kept walking past extremely obvious hiding spots, still half asleep. We ended up finding them all though. Then that night Erin and Manon ( oh that's her host sister's name ) left for a camp for four days, so I went and stayed with Christoffer a norwegian AFSer that lives like 6 minutes away from her.
That was really fun. He even got Super Smash Brothers on his computer so I got to dominate with Kirby once again. Jokes, I'm not that good. Jokes, I'm super pro. No, really, it was just fun though. We also watched a ton of movies and cooked for his host family. I made Mac and Cheese. OHH question for you guys: DO ANY OF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO PUTS MAC AND CHEESE IN THE OVEN? Yeah, I didn't think so. Neither have I. But apparently that's how you're supposed to make it... Strange!!
So anyway a few days I went back to Erin's house, and Friday Christoffer came back over because the next morning he was going to Paris and the day after Erin, her host family, and I were going to Perigueux. Erin tried to bake a chocolate cake ( stress on the word tried ) and it turned out looking horrible and tasting like regular bread. Haha. No one wanted to eat it except her. We also took weird pictures which I might put on later. But probably not, haha. I will add pictures of everything else though. However, most of you have me on Facebook and they are already there, so yeah...
Anyway next day Erin and went into Angers and met up with Benji, Matheus, and Gabe. I got to see a lot of my old friends and it was really nice. We got ice cream and drank Orangina and it was overall a good day. HOWEVER. Erin and I misread the train times and ended up not having a train back into Saumur. So we found a bus that went to a town nearby, so her parents could pick us up there. But the bus stopped at the most random unmarked places I have ever seen. One of the stops was a field on the side of the highway. Erin and I were afraid we were going to be stranded in some weird French town because we had no idea where we were. Plus the bus kept making this annoying noise? but both of our iPods were dead, so we put in headphones and listened to her ringtones on her phone. Hahahaha. We finally made it to the place though.
After that we packed to leave for Perigueux on Monday.

And I actually have to leave because the bell just rang. Off to Literature class. Woooooooooo. I bet you can feel my extreme enthusiasm just radiating off the screen.

But anyway. TO BE CONTINUED! With pictures! I hope!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hello everyone!!
I'm in the CDI (school library) right now am and having an amazingly difficult time figuring out how to type on the French keyboard. Seriously the a is where the q is and I need to shift to make a comma and type a number and I still have no idea how to make an at sign for email addresses. HOW DOES THIS THING WORK?§§?

Anyway I decided to update because this week has been pretty interesting. We had what was called "Semaine Culturelle". It was basically the equivalent of homecoming week, but there was no dance or football game following it. Each day had a theme to follow, for example today was "le temps qui n'es pas encore passé" which means basically time that hasn't arrived yet aka the future so everyone came decked out in futuristic costumes. Magda the Swedish girl came as a robot and literally wrapped herself completely in aluminum foil, and Cornelia the Norwegian girl came as a dead version of herself and powdered her face and drew stitches. It xas really funny. The best costume I saw probably was Wednesday when the theme was the past and there was a guy that came as a knight. It was a legit metal armour set which was super awesome. Other than the costumes there have been concerts each lunch break and during the ten minute break at ten o clock. The first day on Monday, there was a DJ during lunch and everyone was dancing, it was really fun. I took a video but as I am not on my laptop I cant upload it now. Maybe later. Also, each period there are shows in the auditorium for everyone who doesnt have class or whose teacher decides to take them to see it. I only got to go to one with Tomasc (Slovakian guy) on Monday. It was a bunch of students rapping. I couldnt take it very seriously as the first thing the guy said was... well I dont know to translate it, but basically he was like "This shit right here is for my bitch". It was so funny I cant even describe. AHH, anyway. I'm trying to think of other stuff that happened during this week... Hmm... Life here has become so normal that it is hard to remember exciting stuff, because everything feels average, hah.

Well anyway all the trees are budding here and it makes me so incredibly happy. I LOVE THE SPRING. It came really early as well. It's only April and it looks like May. I just can't wait to swim in the lake ! The water is so clear that it will be like taking a massive bath without soap or something. Oh man I've obviously remained so incredibly poetic. I'm glad my writing skills have held, lols. LITERALLY the other day in English class I couldn't finish a sentence without including a french phrase or word. I have no idea why and I was just about losing it. I have so many words from random languages rolling around in my head. But I love it, its so awesome in Europe because you have so many languages around you. Or maybe its cause I just have loads of exchange student friends. NEM TUDOM. Anyway... Tomorrow is vacation AW YEAH and I'm going to Saumur to see Erin again !! IM SO EXCITED I CANT CONTAIN MYSELF QSLDKFJLMSKJDFMLKZJEFLKJZELMFKJZELMFKJZMLEKFJLMKJGMLZKEJGMLEKJGMLKJ
I'll prolly make another post when I get back.
lols I may be overexagerating there. ANYWAYY

Uh I have to go to class in like ten minutes. Jeg har IKKEEEEE lyst.
Sorry I keep typing in different languages but its because I FEEL LIKE IT.
Going to go study and be productive and a good exchange student !!
Okay so Im using a French keyboard and have no idea how to put an accent on the a fail.

Well i have no idea how to capitalize it so anyway à bientot !

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A tour of my school and Carnaval

I'm updating my blog twice in less than two weeks- I must be super bored. 
Nah I'm joking, I just had some free time Friday afternoon, so I went around taking picture of my lycee to show you guys. Also, this weekend there was a celebration which is called Little Venice (or something like that) where people dress up in self-made elaborate costumes and masks. It was super super cool, and the weather was absolutely fantastic that day. 

Anyway, on with the photos: 

 This is a view from the top level
 I only included this photo because as you will notice (NO TOILET SEATS EVERRR) 
 This is where everyone goes in between classes to buy pain au chocolats and cafes
 random stairwell. Stairwell? Staircase? Stair...s? 
 average hallway
 view of the courtyard :P
 This is the science sector. it's by far the coolest. *cries with longing*
 lobby-place near the entrance
 area kids go to smoke inbetween classes
 the gym! (it's almost always a seperate building)
 view of the mountains from a random place outside
 another place where kids go to smoke

So these are the photos from carnaval :P

Anyways, I have to go now! Cleaning the garage. YIPEE

À bientôt !

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Vacations!

Today is the last day of winter vacations, so I'm taking the time to catch up on everything I've done in the past two weeks.

My vacation started with visiting my friend who lives in Montpellier down in the south of France. I took the TGV train down there, which I absolutely love. The TGV trains are super awesome. But let me tell you something, although the TGV train system is pretty sufficient in France (although they are always at least ten or fifteen minutes late), the TER trains are a really weird mess. My total travel time was around four/five hours. The TGV I took from Valence to Montpellier took about an hour and a half. The train I took from Annecy to Valence however, took around three hours because it stopped in every train station along the way... Literally there were about thirty stops listed on the board before leaving.

BUT ANYWAY, I got to Montpellier just fine and it was a nice relaxing morning. I stayed in Montpellier for about four days, and then took the train back. The south is super beautiful. The thing that always throws me off is doing the bises three times, instead of two. I like go to pull away after the second time, and the person will be waiting for a third and it gets a bit awkward. But in Montpellier, it's so beautiful. There are millions of palm trees, rarely ever any clouds, and it's just a 30 or so minute drive to the beach. (which yes, I did go to :P) Also, it's close by to a city which is called Nimes, which used to be a Roman city. My friend's host mom took us there, and we were able to see la Maison Carré (The Square House- constructed in 2 AC) and les Arènes (The Arena- constructed in 70 AD) and also le Pont du Gard (constructed around 50 AC). I was practically flailing all over the place because I've never ever seen or touched buildings so old in my life. It wasn't so bad for my Hungarian friend because he lives in Budapest and sees Roman ruins all the time, so I was the only one dying from absolutely astonishment. I'll add pictures of all of this in the end of the post. We also went to the beach. It wasn't very warm (around 40 degrees) when we went, but of course, I still went into the water. I mean, it was necessary considering it was the Mediterranean Sea. It was so beautiful. It's been ages since I've been to a beach (if you don't count Lake Michigan, lols) and it was so wonderful. I picked up a few seashells I still have in my drawer here. Other than that, we just wandered around Montpellier, which is a really beautiful city. Oh, funny story: We were walking around the city the second day (I think) I was there, and I was feeling really super good because his host mom had just told me she was taking us to see the Roman buildings that day. So this is basically how it went:
Áron: Uhm, yeah, you're also going to see one in about three minutes.

*three minutes later: a huge roman structure appears*
*I die*

No, but it was really amazing to see and touch such an old civilisation. I'm so glad people took the time to preserve all these old buildings because they are so spectacular to see. Truly one of the highlights of my exchange.

Once I got back home after my four days in the south, I chilled around the house for a few more days. My host sister was in Greece with her school the whole first week (I know, what a field trip...) So it was really just a calm three days. The Monday after we got back, we went up to the Chalet (cabin) where I tried skiing again for the second time. It was muchhhh muchhhh better the second time, and I really started to get the hang of it. I could go so much faster while still feeling comfortable. I'm definitely going to try to keep skiing once I get back to the US if I find the time. I also tried cross country skiing which was a workout. My host grandma and I did about 9 km which is about 5 miles. It was much easier, I have to say, although the skiis slip more and it's harder to stop. I also went snow-shoeing. I basically did the three most popular sports in my region of France all within three days, haha. I really enjoy going to the Chalet though because it's so beautiful and quiet and calm.

After that we went down to my other host grandma's house in another department of France. Get this- She lives in a town of 25 people. 25 people. My host sister also told me there is a city in France with 1 person. I looked it up- it exists. Haha. We stayed there for about four days as well, and then came back yesterday. We basically just sat around the four days watching movies and relaxing. However, my host sister swears the house is haunted as it was built in 1887 and people have previously died in it, so there were some nights where falling asleep was harder than others. But in the end we made it out alive, so no worries.

Now I have school again tomorrow. Yipeeeee. I'm actually happy to see everyone again, and because I don't have school every Monday afternoon I'll get to go into Annecy again which I always love. But, blah. The BAC is getting closer and closer, and I'm slowly dying on the inside because of it, haha. I really really don't know what I was thinking when I decided that I should take the BAC. All my other exchange student friends taking the BAC agree with me. It's so much more strenuous and inclusive than any of us thought. I would pull out if given the option, but then I'd be a quitter and probably disappoint a lot of people which I don't want to do. But oh well, we'll just see how it goes.

Other than that, vacation again in a month and a half! I've already planned out going back to visit my amazing Australian friend in Saumur for the whole two weeks. I'm super excited to see her again, I miss her so much.

Anyway, I should probably start homework, hah.

À bientôt ! (Just realised the only time I ever say this is on my blog, lols)

 This is le Pont du Gard ^
 This tree start growing in 908 AD. 
 This is la Maison Carré ^
 This is the Arena ^
 The Arena still hosts bull fighting shows as it's pretty close to Spain


I saw this shirt in a store here and just laughed and laughed and laughed. Thought I'd share.