The secret to learning the gorgeously intricate and fascinating language of the Middle East lies within its own speakers–i.e. if you make Jordanian friends, you’re bound to learn a word or two.
It may require picking them up from the airport on Labor Day weekend then inviting them over to someone’s house to hang out. And then you may have to get out of your comfort zone by trying an Xbox Kinect dancing sort of game whereby you’re flailing your arms in front of your new friends. But hey, when they’re fourth year medical students with only a month-long rotation at your hospital–you dance in ways you haven’t before.
I have not been to bed before midnight in a good couple weeks. Scout’s honor. Ask anyone that knows me and they won’t have words for the abandonment of my militant sleep/running/class schedules. Though homework and repeat 200’s are still getting done, the French verb sortir has appeared more frequently in my dinner conversations. And, because “cultural immersion” is this semester’s tagline, I wondered exactly how does one go out in Tours, France?
Is that even possible? is the question I posed on the eve of a day slotted for merriment and gluttony. The morning of, 0715 brought me to wake then open my shutters like a good French girl. Traces of the words “H.TG.” were forbidden from my mouth lest all the associated memories spill over and wash what little sanity I had. Under the rare and sunny sky, this day would be and had to be fantastic, an answer to mine and mom’s and everyone else’s prayers for joy that overflowith like gravy over turkey. Continue reading
Whatever you’ve heard about lighter European meals is not true in the Alps. At all. Le pire is that the pounds sneak up like the Freshman, or rather in the gastronomical capital of the world, the French fifteen… ok, I’m fibbing. But really, the only way they maintain their paint-tight-skinny-jeans-sveltness is by skipping their breakfast and walking everywhere. One can tralala to the patisserie, bounce over to the fromagerie, then finish up at the boulangerie (not to be confused with the boucherie where the only pain you’ll find is stomaching the sight of freshly hung/dead rabbit and the like.) After an eternity of hunting and gathering, the national sport, they walk a few blocks home sans breaking a sweat.
Prepped to play along? Are the eyes closed enough to imagine and read? Continue reading
Homesick. OK. I give up trying to pretend like I can learn in 3 months what a French woman knows after 20 years. The idea struck me on the heels of an incapaciting stomach bug, exasperated by my endless to-do list. I had taken on so much that by the end of October, the time of our trip to Normandy, my body decided to shut down. I don’t blame it. If anyone, I point my finger at my parents and anyone else who encouraged my insanity to forsake family, familiarity, and the following:
1) Mon Kitchenaid me manque. Continue reading
Every day of class is kindergarten déjà vu. The same fifteen faces and desks arc about a teacher who gladly receives our regurgitated phrases. Apparently this past week, she had had enough of our parroting and therefore requested we choose new careers. Girl-who-leads-people-through-forests has a convenient French counterpart: un guide dans la nature. Continue reading
Il y a une certaine way of living in France. You keep your hands on the table during meals (no monkey business under the table, pour des petits et des grands)! You keep your showers short, your lights off just until it is so dark that your eyes hurt from squinting beside the window, and your conversations forever long. Waste not, want not.
Because, while my family didn’t calculate water and electricity costs, it turns out that gas costs a small fortune here. Continue reading
I didn’t go. I could have gone with Bowling Green or even the Institute. But these long-lost French siblings of mine appeared this Saturday to whom there was no saying no. Having survived the hop across the pond and up to Paris, my suitcase survived to see Tours. We went up 7 flights of stairs, 5 escalators, and 1 moving sidewalk. I counted. Whilst others sweated and fidgeted with their hair and clothing, my train ride passed in calm excitement and mild relief–sedation from the serious bruises delivered by my French reports of Paris.
All 10 of us said an Italian dinner farewell to Paris… every new city/country I visit, tiramisu is sure to be tasted :)
Sitting guard over our luggage in the train station.
There they were. Continue reading