In France, when you return somewhere you’ve just been, you can say “re-bonjour” to announce your presence again. It’s like the French equivalent of the English “hello again”. I am saying “re-bonjour” to you for many reasons:
Firstly, I say “re-bonjour” because I have only been in France for the past two weeks! I spent my Christmas break in America! I made the decision in fall to go back to the homeland for the holidays, with some convincing from friends and family. I was super torn about the decision at first because I had never considered it, and also because I knew it would be a sort of rupture in my study abroad, travel, and language experience. I took some time to consider my options, and ended up deciding to go home. After being there, I can see that it was 100% the right choice for me. I’m very close to my family, and it was so incredibly good to be with them for the holidays. I also got to see most of my friends at a winter conference held by Cru in the Twin Cities. It was absolutely amazing to see friends that I hadn’t seen since summer, as well as to get to hang out and speak English! I returned to France refreshed and ready to tackle finals! For year-longers, it is often hard to make that choice about whether or not to go home, but I can say from my experience and the experience of close friends that it can be worth it depending on your interests and desires. I was nervous that my French would slip while I was home, but finishing a book for finals kept me current!
I also say “re-bonjour” because I just finished finals and get to start a new semester!! I could not be more excited! My classes from first semester were challenging. I think taking two third-level sociology courses was a bit over-zealous on my part. I spent way too many weekends doing in-field research for one of the THREE projects I completed last semester. I was pretty worn down before Christmas, so it was great to go home, get refreshed, and come back ready to finish strong. I still am not sure about the grades I will be receiving in those hard classes, but I have learned a lot about the French school system, expectations, and how I want to study abroad! For this upcoming semester, I have chosen classes that interest me, but that don’t have research projects. I was so busy doing projects last semester that the only time I traveled out of France was to go home for break! One thing I really want to do this semester is travel around Europe. I’ve already got tickets for Madrid and Budapest!
My final “re-bonjour” is more of a toast: Here’s to a new semester full of French, lots of travel, new friends, lots of laughs, and the unknown!