The Breath Before the Homestretch


Thanks to the many French holidays, I had yet another three day weekend. This time with Monday off. So after lunch, Stephane, Natalie, Maxent and me drove an hour and a half to Mont Saint-Michel. We had to park far away from it, but we were able to take a short trolley to the little island. We took the classic pictures as we walked up to it from the trolley. With the iconic tower in the background with your hair flying every which way because of the wind.
We then walked all the way up past the crowds and shops and more than enough steps to get a tour guide, which was free (and in French), around the abbey. From the parts I could understand, the tour was very informative and I learned some new things. I could even understand some of the tour guides jokes! I would wonder off though and not really pay attention to the tour sometimes, but during those times I got the chance to appreciate the symmetrical and detailed architecture of the whole place even more. It baffles me how people did all of this without modern technology. I still am curious as to where all these perfectly cut stones came from. But my main question is just how? How was all this accomplished? How many people did it take? Were those people working day and night to get this place built? How much were they paid? How much was the architect paid? What mixter is keeping these stones together? Did one person do all the detailed stonework in this room? Am I the only one here thinking of these weirdly specific questions? How could nobody else be asking these questions? A picture of this place isn’t just worth a thousand words, it’s worth a thousand and one questions.
This this what goes on in my head when I come to places like these. I become so focused on how my mind is responding to what my eyes are seeing. Even if the tour was in English my own mind would have tuned it out and would have made my feet move forward to soak in every part of every room we went to.
We did go to quite a few rooms, but there were many more locked doors or blocked hallways than open doors and free flowing hallways. It almost pained me that I couldn’t explore every nook and cranny. I just wish that I could have a master key to every door. I wonder if anyone has a master key to every door. If someone does, I want to become friends with them.
After the tour we walked around the outside walls and got some coffee and crepes at a cafe followed by walking around in the shops. Natalie tends to walk pretty far ahead and Stephan tends to walk very slowly, leaving Maxent and me in the middle. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s been talking to me way more often and so all the time we were there, we were joking and talking. He’s a good kid. He often tries to speak English with me in a joking manner. In fact, my whole family now will randomly say a word or even a whole question in English! Probably because they know that I know the translation of whatever they are saying. I have to say it makes for a more fun time because they will laugh and tease each other on their accents.
Speaking of speaking English, I asked my host parents on the way back to the car if it was weird for them to hear people speaking English all the time. They said since France is such an international travel destination, going anywhere and hearing someone speak another language is totally normal. It’s also normal that most songs on the radio are in fact, in English. A lot of posters are too. Also, most things at the Color Me Rad Rennes run was in English, including the directions on how to put on the fake tatoo!
I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but France has truly beautiful country sides. The drive to and from Mont Saint-Michel was a whole lot of luscious, green fields, old stone houses and blue skies with puffy white clouds. I’ve been very fortunate to have nice weather on most of my outings. Lets hope my luck doesn’t run out. I’m planning a lot of adventures here in the next month. I’m trying to feed my need for new experiences best I can before I go. That’s one reason why I don’t want to go back home, in fact I’m scared that when I go back home I will become bored and get restless. That is one way I’ve changed in these past five months. I need new experiences to feel my soul. My soul craves to get into the unknown and figure it out. I guess my next big unknown will be college…
Thank God I am still in highschool though! I’m going to enjoy these last two weeks of french high school all that I can. It’s weird that everyone back home is on summer. It’s also weird that I’m not that jealous. I am jealous that they get to sleep in and have time to go to the pool and get a job, but I am living a life in France and I’m glad to say that that fact alone is more than enough for me to not care at all that I’m not on summer vacation yet. A lot of my teachers are absent quite often anyway. On Tuesday I didn’t even go to school until 2:24 because all of my teachers that morning were doing things for the BAC testing which is like the SAT or ACT but more intense from what I hear.
Then on Wednesday I had school from 8:05 to 10:35 and so did Eliza. So we got brunch, did a little shopping (didn’t buy anything though), got lunch and headed back to our homes all by 2:30. Since the weather was very beautiful, Maxent and I enjoyed a few hours of badminton before dinner. A Fun Fact about this Wednesday is that it the one month mark until I go home! How crazy is that!
These past few weeks I’ve decided to start reading again. I stopped reading for a few months because I didn’t want it to interfere with my French. But I’ve missed and I’m more solid in my French speaking now. I’ve read about a book a week and now I’m on Inferno by Dan Brown. I read on my Nook so I don’t have to lug around a ton of books. I only read on the bus and before I go to sleep because I will get criticized for reading in English but I don’t care because I can’t read these books in French because it would just be too difficult and reading makes me happy and that’s reason enough for me. I try to read before class but sometimes one of my classmates has his music from is headphones so loud that I can clearly hear every strum of the guitar and it’s just too distracting, not to mention that his taste in music isn’t exactly my favorite either. However, I’m also reading French kids books while I’m at home though so I’m not totally slacking in my French!
Just to prove that my french speaking ability is increasingly becoming better; A girl asked me where the school was from the bus stop because she had to take the BAC, and I gave her directions in full sentences and she understood! Exchange kids live for moments like that.
Friday was also the last day of acrogym! I think I called it acrosport in my last blog, sorry for my ignorance. It was much more fun than last weeks class and we even played the french version of dodgeball for a warm up! Our teacher is very relaxed and even played with us and helped my team not lose as bad as we would have without her.
That evening I helped Faustine pick out some gifts for her mom and sister and I was very happy to finally get home and relax after a long and busy week.
My weekend turned out to busy too.
Eliza and I hit up the Saturday morning market and bought some fruit and macarons. Which we then ate in the park on a bench after we were done being tempted by all the other delicious food we hadn’t bought. We walked around and got some rubber bands so that we could tie-dye some shirts and socks. We got a quick bite of sushi then headed back to my house to tie-dye. I wasn’t very good at it but the shirts and socks turned out great! We are both going to wear the shirts the last day of school and have our classes sign them so that will be fun!
Fetes Des Meres was today (Mother’s Day). It was also Ombeline’s twenty first birthday! The twenty first birthday isn’t a big deal here, because why would it be? You can already drink, drive and most importantly to teenagers, they can vote already so it’s understandable.
I got my mom some nice raspberry jam from the market because she absolutely loves anything rasberry, and then I got Ombeline some makeup because she is very fashion forward with clothes, makeup, shoes and everything. She reminds me of my older sister a lot!
Before lunch Ombeline and I made some cake pops and decorated them for that night after dinner for dessert. After lunch Natalie and Stephan’s mothers came over for some snacks wine, champagne and cake for Ombeline. It’s always nice seeing them and talking to them.
This week is nothing compared to what I’m about to face. I am now officially in the homestretch. Two school weeks, a total of seven school days but three of those days are half days, and then two vacation weeks stand in the way of me finally being with my friends and family again. These next four week will go by so fast. I am not going to let myself waste a second of them. I already have a lot of plans and I can’t wait for them and to tell you all about them. Sorry in advance if I seem like I’m bragging. But I feel as though the best times are the ones that other people what to have for themselves as well.
It’s also come to my attention that some people who are looking to do an exchange are reading my blog and to you I must say that you should do it if your heart is telling you. Experience the world, make new friends, a new family, make plans, have fun, put yourself out there. It’s not always easy and fun but that’s okay. No great adventure is. Not everyone’s path in life is the same, but every path has logs to jump over and mud to trudge though. And there will be a beautiful view just for you if you keep going though the rough parts. Trust me, I know first hand. And if you do this, make sure to thank your parents profusely because I am so grateful to my parents for giving this to me and I don’t know how to repay them besides giving this experience all I’ve got. Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me get to this view, and bonne fetes des meres, maman!

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