This is it. The final week. I'm down to my last week of living in the US and then I'm gone. So far, this last month has been pretty hectic. After recently returning from Hawaii, I've started working again and will be doing so pretty much until I leave. In the mean time, I spend my days scrambling around photocopying passports, sending emails to AFS and stocking up on socks and outlet converters. And, of course, getting in as much time with my friends as possible. It seems weird that the people who I've been with every day for 15 and a half years are going to vanish from my life.... C'est la vie!
In Hawaii, I called into an AFS phone conference with a former AFSer from France. Can I say "illuminating"? It was very interesting to hear about what my life might be like next year. I was told to keep a small booklet on me where I can make my own dictionary for words I need to learn. I wonder what will be in there by the end of the year. I also learned that sports are done with private clubs, not school teams like here in America. I guess that's good since it will be much better funded and organized but it'll probably be expensive for me. Nonetheless, I'm excited to play tennis, nordic ski and play soccer in France. As long as I don't get head-butted!
I'm really excited to get to Paris for the three-day orientation. Myself and 400+ other AFSers from around the world are going to temporarily inhabit a youth hostel somewhere in the City of Lights, no doubt scaring the crap out of the other hostel guests, as we'll all be running around with cameras and pantomiming to each-other in dozens of different languages. We'll take a bus tour of Paris which, while being a great way to mark us as tourists, will be exciting because I haven't been there yet. Although I've been through part of Provence it's very different from Paris (rural to suburban and small wine-making villages to the world's most-visited city) and it'll be awesome to see such a famous, amazing place. Then I'll proceed to my village, maybe my train or maybe with my host family, I don't know yet. I can't wait to meet my host brother Guillaume who is almost a twin to me, our birthdays being 2 days apart! School is going to be a whole different matter though.
So French schools are very very different than American schools, as one might imagine. In French high school, or lycée as it's called, there are only three years instead of four. When a student enrolls, they have to pick a "major": S for scientifique (this is a math and science based curriculum), L for littéraire (mainly history, literature, writing curriculum) and ES for économique et social (economics and social sciences). You stay with this curriculum throughout lycée according to your interests. Now, ideally I'd want to be in literature because I'm a reading-writing bookish kinda person. As fate would have it, I'm in S so I'll be learning geometry, various algebras, biology, physics and I think chemistry. While you do study mostly your "major's" topics, everyone does take classes in everything else, just not to such an extensive level. I'm hoping to get into an English class- perhaps the one class I'll pass and get credits for!
I'm probably not going to have anything to write about until I'm in transit to France so good-bye America and à très bientôt for now!