Learning to Dance in the Rain Even After I Fall

After having a better than expected break, by first week back at school was depressingly the opposite of better than expected. As I had back in America, I have here. Which was me occasionally having a bad week. Up until Thursday I just felt as though there was no light in me. I wasn’t sleeping well and I just missed my friends at home. It was the first time I felt homesick since one of the first weeks that I got here. I saw my “friends” here starting to not be so welcoming and I didn’t really know what to do. In the mornings my host sister would just walk way ahead of me to get to the bus and I couldn’t catch up but she didn’t even wait for me in front of the bus. She just got right on the bus and didn’t even look back to see if I was following. This quite frankly made me feel like shit. I asked her what was wrong and she said nothing. So I just dropped it, but I’ll seriously ask her if she does it again. I being in a not-so-bright mood made me see the differences in the culture here that I defiantly don’t like, such as not waiting for someone who you are going to the same place with at the same time.  Also, the whole asking how you are doing but obviously not caring about your answer. I will have people say to me,” Salut! ҫava?” and before I get half a word out they are back to their original conversation. I don’t think they realize that it’s ruder to ask and not care about the answer than to just not ask at all. Lastly, it’s a difficult thing to get over their manors (or lack of). It astonishes me how many people blatantly smack and chew with their mouths open. I think to myself,” Why do you choose to look like a dog? Do you find that attractive or sophisticated? JUST WHY.” If you can’t tell, impolite eating is my number one pet peeve. And it seems as though most everyone eats that way, unfortunately for me. However, once in a blue moon I’ll find someone who doesn’t, so that’s nice. That’s how my week went until Thursday after lunch. All the exchange kids met in our local coordinators office and gave him updates on their lives and we went over future schedules and whatnot. The other exchange kids left to take an exam that the newer exchange students didn’t have to take. So that left Eliza (my good Australian friend), Alyssa (new girl from Canada) and me with M. Vidal. It was all going fine until he started asking me questions. Okay, here is some background info about me; I’m a slow learner, I have to study for a really long time before I understand something, but once I finally get it I understand it very well. It just takes a little longer than most. So back to my story, M. Vidal was asking me questions and I got the most of what he was saying and I answered back in the best French I could muster in my depressed, stressed-out state. Then after I asked a few questions on what the translation of certain words were that he was saying, I said a sentence that was very bad French grammar and before I could correct myself he said(in French),” Cassie, you need to work harder and care more about learning French.” I didn’t even know how to respond. He has had no idea what I’m going through and he took my asking questions and my bad grammar as me not caring!? I was getting so mad at this point but I apologized and said I was working at my French, but he then he even COMPARED me to another exchange student (Who’s actually my good friend from Japan). I looked at him straight in the eyes as big fat tears rolled down my cheeks and said, “Je ne suis PAS Saku.” I cannot stand being compared to other people.  I couldn’t believe that in all his years of being a local coordinator that he still didn’t understand that every student learns at their own pace and mine is just unfortunately slower than others. I just sat there crying. He obviously felt bad and was trying to make me feel better but I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction. But once I did calm down the four of us went to the office to ask the office lady about a future exam and she saw that I was in distress so once the Eliza and Alyssa went to their classes and M. Vidal left she had me come into her office and she gave me a tangerine to eat and talked me through everything I was feeling and she made me feel so much better. All week I just needed someone to give me a hand of kindness and encouragement. She was the first person all week to actually sit me down and help me. Earlier in the week when I got teary eyed my French friends didn’t really do anything but say something like, “don’t worry”, or “it’s going to be okay” and left it at that. Well, yeah I know it’s going to be okay! But right now I’m not okay. Right now I need a friend. Then the office lady had me come with her to fix a couch and there were some other students in the grade below me who found out I was American and started talking to me and was so amazed in the different places that I’ve lived and just talked to me for the last hour of school. I don’t know how to explain but it makes you feel better knowing that someone takes a genuine interest in knowing at least a little about your life. Talking to them made me realize that even though I am surrounded by a lot of people that don’t really give a shit about me and my life, that doesn’t mean that I’m not interesting enough to get to know. It just means that they aren’t my kind of people; I can’t have a connection with everyone. It may not be ideal, but it happens and I found out that it’s nothing to be bummed out about at all. After skype calls with my parents and best friend on Thursday, and then after an evening in the city with Eliza and Alyssa on Friday, I realized that I don’t need everyone to be my friend. I have people in my life that deeply care about me. I have family and friends I can ALWAYS fall back on. I don’t need anyone who doesn’t even put forth energy to having even a friendship with me. I have an awesome life. Not only because of friends and family, but because of the places I’ve lived, I know my interest and passions, and I know that I’m not a mess-up (trying to make it stay that way, too). I maybe a sensitive over thinker that is a little crazy and has bad jokes, but now I FINALLY understand the meaning of ”you do you and I’m gonna do me.” I’m in France! I’m not going to let my once-in-a-lifetime experience be a bad one just because I’m not going to be friends with everyone. I got my few people and I’m going to roll with them. I’m going to be as nice to everyone as I can and hope for the best from them. But I’m going to expect the best from me, that’s really all one can do in life. I don’t want to give up on this trip and go home. I want to accomplish my dream of learning and traveling. I knew it was going to be hard seeing that I’m an extreme over thinker and my tear ducks seam to work overtime, but I’m learning more about myself and more about life than I ever would have thought because of these hard times. Which is bitter-sweet. But with my new I’m-gonna-do-me attitude I feel like I’ll have a little more fun than I probably would have had otherwise in the months to come.  I want to be able to have great stories to tell my friends and family when I come back, so in the next 119 days, I’m going to make those stories happen weather I have awesome friends by my side or not (And my blogs won’t be such rants like most of this one was)!

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