Bonjour, tout le monde!
I’m sorry I didn’t post anything last week! We've had some storms recently, and some of them have been a little intense, like the one yesterday that caused the city to flood and all of the public transportation to stop running. Walking home in the middle of that was... interesting. Toward the end of last week, though, there was quite a bit of wind which damaged some cables. It took the internet company a few days to fix it, and by the time they did, it made more sense to just combine the weeks 4 and 5 posts together. Don’t worry, though, you really didn’t miss anything! Right now I’m flipping through my journal entries from the last couple of weeks, and almost every one of them starts out saying something along the lines of “nothing particularly special happened today…” or “it’s been a fairly unremarkable day…” so I apologize if this post is only made up of boring little details about my life. Then again, I guess that's what a blog is.
School is going well! This past week I realized that I am no longer trying to translate French into English in my head while I am in class, I just understand what my teacher is saying without really thinking about it. I don’t catch every word, but I find that I am getting the gist of it and that my brain is starting to operate in French while I’m in class. Sometimes I get really confused when I am taking notes and think of an English word that I don’t know in French. I look down and realize that I have been writing in French the whole time and suddenly have to transition back to English, so my notes are an odd mixture of Frenglish. I still have a long way to go, but it is a little sliver of encouragement. Now I just wish that my speaking skills would progress at the same rate!
As far as the social life here goes, I have discovered a few things. First, I have quickly come to realize that I have met absolutely amazing people here, and that I am incredibly lucky to have been blessed with them as my friends! I genuinely love all of the people that I have met here. They are all such welcoming, vivacious people, and they offer their own special qualities that just make my life complete. I don’t know what I offer them in return, but hopefully it’s something comparable! I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with them this week, doing things like exploring the wilderness (which I’ll tell you about in a minute) and enjoying the Montpellier night life. This brings me to my next couple of discoveries! I have discovered a love for dancing! I have also discovered that I suck at it. Admittedly, I already suspected the latter, but now I know for sure. I should probably care about that, but I just don’t. I’m sure I look like a complete fool when we go dancing, but I just can’t bring myself to mind. I wantto do it anyway! I haven’t yet discovered whether this is a good thing or a bad thing…
The only other notable event that has taken place was our exploration of the French wilderness with the landlord of a couple of my friends. I have taken to lovingly referring to this as my excursion in French wilderness hell. It was definitely an adventure, though! The day started out well as we visited an old church in the countryside. My friends’ landlord, Philippe (not sure of the spelling here… forgive me Josh and Ronny!) was kind and generous enough to take us there and give us a tour. After this, we went to his friend’s house and made a delicious lunch! Then, as is the French way, we relaxed and visited for a couple of hours. It was so nice to get to spend so much time together! During the school week I often don’t see some of these friends, so it’s seriously great for me when we all get together. Then we drove out a little bit further into the countryside. We parked along the side of the road and all gathered to listen to Philippe explain that there was a cave nearby that he and his colleagues had discovered and explored. I must have missed a key piece of information, because before I knew what was happening, Philippe began climbing up a nearby pile of rocks and disappeared into the bushes and trees! Somewhat surprised, we all followed him up the rocks and into the thicket, where we battled with thorny bushes, shuffled along logs, holding on for dear life to branches, and dodged deceptively low tree limbs. We arrived at what I can only really describe as a boulder-encompassed cavern in the ground, into which Philippe then disappeared. He scaled a steep wall of stones until he arrived the floor of the cave, which was maybe 20 or 30 feet below ground. The cave seemed pretty small and he didn’t want to go further into it than the opening, so I opted out of the spelunking expedition this time. Maybe I’ll go next time when I’m not wearing a pair of Converse and jeans… After that, we drove to a new spot and proceeded to take a leisurely hike through the mountain to look at piles of rocks, which apparently used to be shelters and housing units during the Dark Ages… or maybe it was the Middle Ages. I’m not going to lie, by that point in time I was slightly concerned about the fact that we had missed the last bus back to town, so I wasn’t really paying close attention. Of course, though, at the end of the day (14 hours after leaving my apartment that morning) we arrived home safe and sound. Even though these types of events tend to bring out my impatient side, they always make me smile afterwards. Really, in retrospect, they end up being some of my favorite memories. If only I could keep that in mind while I was experiencing them!
Lastly, I received a very interesting email this week. To tell you about it now would be a bit premature, so I’m sorry, this is only a teaser. Just know to check back next week because there might be an interesting tidbit of information added to my blog post.
À tout à l’heure!