Holy guacamole. I’m sitting in the Montreal Airport, about to board a seven-hour flight to Paris, France.
I’m going to FRANCE, you guys.
I don’t think the reality and weight of that statement hit me until just now. In less than twenty-four hours, I’m going to be an ocean away from everything I know. And I’m staying there until November! That’s a really long time. I also speak elementary, utterly basic French, if that. This should be interesting.
At my school’s mass orientation meeting, in which we were told many colorful stories about the demise of other abroad students, they imparted at least one mildly useful piece of information, which was that we would swing through emotional stages.
1. Elation – utter adoration and excitement for the place you are in.
2. Despair – utter unhappiness and hopelessness for your situation.
3. Acceptance – recognizing the reality of your surroundings.
4. Settling – finding your place in this new world.
Hopefully I can skip the despair weeks. I don’t want to waste any of my precious time abroad being mope-y. So I have a plan! Once in Rouen, I’m going to do my absolute best to integrate into French culture and society. I’m going to join clubs and groups, strike up random conversation, and say YES to absolutely everything I’m invited to (other than drug cartels and the like).
Quebec City was a perfect in-between place; a place where both French and English are spoken, so if you were failing hard, you could still communicate with others. I know Rouen will not be this way, and I’m glad. It’s time to crash and burn, and then claw my way out of the ashes.
I can’t wait.