Tuesday, August 31, 2010

today's the day?

I'm leaving tonight.
I don't mean that, do I?
I am SO not ready to leave. I love it here. When I first moved here, I never thought I'd become so attached. I didn't particularly like my house, the weather was never good enough, the winters were too cold, our school was too boring, and on and on...
And today, I live in the most beautiful house on the whole planet, I can't imagine life without the mountains and the clouds, I'm going to miss out on all the snow fun, school is better than ever, and I can't imagine five months away without my best friends, or being able to come home and cry to my mommy when I need to.
It is entirely true that you don't know what you've got till you lose it (or are about to).
I keep having to remind myself (actually, my mom reminds me) that all these things will still be here when I get back.
I told her I've been listening to depressing country music about leaving home and whatnot (I hate country music). She told me to stop, but I've been doing it anyway, and this is what stuck: "she couldn't wait to get going, but wasn't quite ready to leave." I know that's super corny, but that about sums it up.
I know this is going to be a great experience - I picked the best organization I could find, they found a family for me that I'm so happy to have, and I have so much support from home. Still, though, five months... that's a long time to go without a hug from my mom. Not quite ready to leave.
I don't know if I'm supposed to always be cheerful or something on here, but that's out the window at this point. :P
Seriously, though, to any new AFSers that read this: Obviously this is a hard part of the exchange, and I'm being pretty dramatic about it;  but anyone who's gone, is going, or is getting ready to go (that's me!) can tell you that your exchange will be so worth all the heartache that comes with it.
So: I plan on crying all the way there, then sucking it up and making the best of it with the hundreds of other exchange students that are doing the same thing. And it'll be alright. :)

If you read through this, and think I'm a sap... well, there you have it. :) Thanks for reading anyway.

A bientôt,
-Katie

p.s. Oh! I talked to my host family yesterday morning. They must think I'm a total idiot, because I forgot most of the things I was going to say to them. But they were so kind, and so patient. :) They even let me talk to their daughter, who's fluent in English. Which was also wonderful. :)
I'm really excited, because I didn't know what school would be like - I though they'd have me enrolled in all math classes or something - turns out I'm taking all literature/language/a couple hours of math classes. Hooray! :D
I can't wait to meet them - even if I can't understand most of what they're saying, they just seem so wonderful.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Info. (t-minus 3 weeks)

Hooray! :D I finally know a thing or two about my host family, my town, and my school.
So, there aren't any kids at home, but they have two grown children, and the family just seems really great. :) They live in the cute little town of Pont Péan, France (near Rennes), and I'll be going to Lycée Anita Conti, which seems really nice.  I have no idea what classes I'll be taking or anything, but I'm sure it'll be fun. :)
As for what life will be like, from what I've gathered, I'll be walking to school (about 10 minutes away, I think). And it doesn't really snow there, so I don't have to worry about crazy -20 degree winter weather (not until I get home, anyway). I also know that they do some awesome gardening, so I'm pretty excited for that. Nothing green ever lives longer than a week at our house...
Besides doing some serious digging in my AFS sutff to get all that info, I've been trying to prepare my french as well. Mostly this training consists of watching Enchanted in French over and over, and sometimes listening to french songs. :) It's pretty fun.

I also just realized that I'm supposed to use my first real post to tell about myself and why I wanted to go on an exchange.
So...
I'm 17, and Eagle River, Alaska is my home. I'm kind of a bookworm, but I do love the outdoors, especially in AK. I'm not so much into long camping trips and shooting things and spending long periods of time swarmed by bugs, but i do enjoy nice hikes and bikes and things. It doesn't always work out, because I'm kind of clumsy, but I still think it's pretty fun. :)
I wanted to go to France because for the three years I've taken french, I've absolutely loved it, because I wanted to experience a different culture (all of my siblings went to some of their secondary school in Asia), and, of course, because of the pastries. ;)  I heard about AFS at school through a presentation in my french class, and after hosting two girls (one from Japan and one from Thailand), I decided it was my time. So after completing an excruciating amount of paperwork, I was accepted and on my way. I now have three weeks left until I leave... It's crazy.
 As for what I expect from/want to get out of my AFS experience, I'm going to be making some serious efforts to be more outgoing and confident. I'm pretty good at hiding in my shell, but I'm starting to do better at breaking out of it. I'm also going to be working towards fluency. I'll only be there 5 months, but with my three years of preparation, I think I can do it. :) Optimism is key!

I'll update with some pictures and things whenever I get them. I'm so excited! :D
à bientôt,

-Katie