Introducing Sigrid (France)

November 3, 2010

Well. This is it. I’m accepted into the program. Now that I’ve passed, I need to make my affirmative choice financially secure stating that I am going. Write a check for $100, send some awkward passport photos, and fill out a few more applications and send them on their nervous little way to IAP. I am trying to convince myself I still want this that I am not going to regret my decision to leave the US for an entire semester. On most days, it is easy. On others, like when I am with my family for our weekly breakfasts, I get cold feet. However, today has been promising because today I finished filling out the Accent Enrollment Forms. I never had the privilege of designing my own roommate freshman year when some were matched up according to their personality traits or hobbies. These forms request that I rank my preferred living arrangements. Taking in both my brother’s experience and my roommate’s, I confidently listed a “homestay” as my numero uno. And let’s be real, the option to have 4 dinners a week over 1 was obviously ranked higher. Last on my checklist was a single studio in a student residence. I figure that me, on my own, isn’t the brightest idea. I can get pretty… weird by myself. Plus, I don’t think in French, so any conversations I would have with myself would probably be conducted in English. Or uncorrected French if I were feeling motivated. Therefore, I wouldn’t be talking much outside of class would be counter-productive.

Since my French is rougher than the average French student at an equivalent level as me (5th semester), I am extremely nervous to speak in front of people. I’ll answer the obvious question of: you can’t be that bad if you’re in fifth semester French and averaging a B! How can that be?” Well my friend, I make it possible. My parents like to tease me by asking what the two French actors are saying in such and such foreign film because they know I’ll respond with an embarrassed “Well, I don’t know…” I stammer out awkward ill-formed sentences that usually need to be interpreted by my teacher during class (although that can probably be credited to the fact that I am awkward in general and am not a very good candid public speaker). For these reasons, I have decided to study abroad. In the country that I have a verbal abusive relationship with. By myself. For five months. However, to warm myself up, to break into my new French skin, I have completed a list of goals I would like to achieve by the end of May. I do this every year before any big adjustment in life.

Here we go:

-When my parents come to visit, take them out to diner and order for them in perfect French. “Il voudrait la viande avec les fraises, et du vin rouge.”

-Be able to carry on conversations with my host family and actually understand what they’re telling me immediately instead of having to first translate it into English in my head. I think some people will think I have a learning disability if I keep this up.

-Know the routes, the names of cathedrals, museums, statues, landmarks by heart.

-To not go up to a vendor and try to speak in French, but obviously fail when they start to talk to me in English. I want to be French. French French French.

-Become “part of the family” in my host family. I want them to like me, darn it.

-Not wanting to leave after my semester is up.

-Meet Monsieur Vrai. I need a French love affair to improve my French ki…..skills.

-Not to totally liquidate my bank account.

-To follow-through with this blog.

It’s quite the list, but then again, I have like five months to successfully complete it.

I’ll end with this image. I need a good French frame of mind.