Here, at last!

I am now writing from Marchiennes, France! I arrived on Friday, but I left Santa Fe on Tuesday at 7 in the morning (ugh). Oh so much happened during those four days, how I will ever be able to write it all I don't know, but I can try. Well, to start with, I went to the first day of school in Santa Fe before I left, as they started on Monday. That was an interesting experience, because I felt like I belonged there and yet I had to keep reminding myself and everyone else that I was leaving, and that I was not going to be there with them through the hard and easy parts of the school year. But then I had to wake up at four in the morning and all those deep complicated thoughts and feeling left me, and were replaced by foggy confusion and regret for booking said 7:00 flight!
We had a layover in Chicago, and then onto Boston, where we spent the night, and the next morning I said goodbye to my parents, and met the other 7 kids going to France with CIEE. We spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Boston doing touristy things. We went on a boat tour of Boston harbor, saw the mapporium, which was very cool, and then walked around Harvard campus and Harvard Square. When we returned from Harvard Square we grabbed our luggage, which was quite an ordeal, as we all had tons of suitcases, and big ones too, and lugged them over to the airport. At the airport we chugged are way through security, then onto the plane. We took a german airline to Frankfurt, which is a 5 or 6 hour flight. Then the same airline to Charles De Gaulle, which is supposed to be an hour long flight. Unfortunately, we were delayed due to some baggage problems, and it was a two hour ordeal. Then our baggage was delayed at Charles De Gaulle, which would have been fine, except that during the hour delay at Frankfurt one girl's suitcase (luckily not all of her luggage, but still...) was sent to Munich instead. In summary, we were two and half hours late getting to the reception area of Charles De Gaulle.
My family came and picked me up at the airport, which was so nice of them, as everyone else had to take trains to their host family with all their luggage. I felt bad being two and a half hours late though, nut at the same time I couldn't leave the group. We were all together on all the flights, except for one girl, who had changed her flight to return to the US, and they changed her flight there was well, so she had to wait an hour by her self at the Frankfurt airport, so that was unfortunate.
Marchiennes is beautiful, and very charming. We biked to the next town over today and it was so much nicer, view wise, than any american bike ride, I think, anyway. My host family has been introducing me to their friends, which is nice, though I still have a very hard time understanding what they say because they speak so quickly and abbreviate everything! However, I think I'm understanding a little more everyday. On Friday, I was so tired from not sleeping for 21 hours straight that I didn't understand anything at all!
We went to the high school where I'll be going this year with Sarah and Thomas to get the text books for my classes. The architecture of the School is very French. I got my books alright, but I think I confused them because I didn't declare a specialty. Here the students in 11th grade, or premier form, pick a specialty to study for the baccalaureate. I have to take economy, so Thomas was trying to explain to me the basics that they learned last year, in French mind, which was very confusing. The confusion was much increased by the fact that the dictionary didn't have most of the phrases because they were specific to economics. I'm taking biology again, but its supposed to be the next level, as they took it last year like us. The reason I say supposed to be is because I was looking at the text book today and the index says we will learn only things that were covered in my class last year. I'm not sure yet whether or not this is a good thing but right now I'm thinking yes!
Well, I think that's all I have to say for now. My host family is great, I think it would be so much harder if my host family and I didn't get on, because that does happen apparently, so I'm really grateful to them. They have a dog who is very cute but crazy, so that's nice because my dog is also crazy.
a bientot,



so I've just finished packing for 10 months, and oh my god I thought it would never end, but fortunately it has. I'm eternally grateful to be finished after 5 days of running around my house pulling out clothes, extra toiletries, art supplies, etc. and making list after list of reminders. Today I stuffed them all into my apple green suitcase and one other little one with much frustration and back pain. Then I measured them on the bathroom scale and they are both, thank goodness, under 50 lbs. If they get lost I'm screwed because they hold basically all the clothes I own, and I'll be wearing the same two outfits for the days it takes them to find and ship it. Not to mention the fact that the little one only has coats basically, so if just one gets lost it better be the little one. Now that the packing part of my preparations is over I don't know what to do with myself! Maybe I'll go eat a hot dog or a hamburger to prepare for leaving the US...
A bientot



wow its finally here, and I barely know what to do with my self! I've been wanting this for so long, probably about 7 years and now that the time has arrived I feel so out of the moment and out of my body; almost like looking in at the preparations, detached. Well, the preparations are innumerable: Packing, repacking, writing down addresses and phone numbers, and email addresses, visiting friends/family, saying goodbye to the library where I volunteered this summer, planning sleepovers, calls, making cake and pie (mmm), copying recipes and emptying my camera, etc. etc. etc. Things to do keep popping into my head and then I write them down (or forget them!) but I'm making progress. Oh not to mention the fact that tomorrow is my mom's birthday, and my dad's birthday is four days after I leave, so we're planning several birthday bash events, but finding/wrapping gifts is very difficult when the gift receivers don't want to leave for a minute.
Tonight: Tacos! I'm trying to pack in as much new mexican food and chile as I can before I leave. I don't know how I'll survive 10 months without any chili sauce, which is the staple food of my life, along with bread and milk. Tomorrow we are celebrating at the Shed so yay for red chile sauce on blue corn cheese flat enchiladas!!!
I have more journals than I know what to do with, so I guess that means I have to crack down and keep a written log of events this year (can I do it: probably not, but I'll try). Thanks to everyone who gave me a journal Perhaps, thanks to you, I will be able to learn some actual discipline in the art of journal keeping.
Oh, for all those who are reading this and in Nuevo Mexico, my friend, Shanny, just sent me this quote in an email and I love it so I'm going to post it here, sorry if you're not in NM, hang tight ;D..."Poor New Mexico, so far from heaven, so close to Texas..." haha, its perfect, thank you Shanny.
Now on to more news of France. I'll be arriving in France on Friday, and starting school on Monday, not a lot of transition time, but I guess that's nice in a way; I won't have time to let the anxieties build about my language skills, or lack there of. I know next to nothing about my school, or schedule except that it is Catholic and . . . well, that's it. Wish me luck! I know I'll need it.
A bientot,
e a la france


20 days and counting!

We had the party on Sunday. It was a great success, I'm only sorry that a few people couldn't make it! Am taking a break from thank you notes and sticker-ing up my new planner (thanks Megan!). Also packing for my up-coming trip to Colorado with friends. I got these great vintage, only used once, green suitcases, a two-suitcase matching set when we went to truth or consequences last fall, and I haven't had a chance to use those yet so it should be exciting, though I'm only taking one. Oh, I'm also seriously considering going to Prep for the first day of school, as I don't leave until the next day, though I won't have any classes to go to so I'll have to tag along with my friends. we'll see. anyway thats all my exciting news, wow I do live the high life, thank-you notes and project runway in one day phew, so much excitement. more later, a bientot!