Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The end of the beginning.

I had been told prior to parting that the first three months, the beginning, are the hardest part of exchange.
Judging by everything I've felt and gone through these first three months, I can conclude that this statement is as true as the fact that French cheese is the best in the world.
Know what that means?
Since today, November 28, the beginning of this journey, for all the exchange students who arrived on August 28 in Paris, is over.
Nous y sommes arrivés. We made it.
I'm not only proud of myself, I am proud of my fellow exchange students. The nice thing about France is that we all celebrate the three month anniversary together, having had to arrive together as well. So if you're an exchange student in France like me, congratulations!!
From this point on, I only have more excitement to look forward to. I can also breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the eye of the storm has passed.
Anyway, here's a brief update. These are noteworthy things I have done that you might find interesting.
I didn't mention this on the entry on the 19th because I had other things to say, but on November 17 (I keep a daily journal), I ate frog legs for the first time. My host mom cooked them a particular way with lots of seasoning and garlic, and while I couldn't believe what I was putting in my mouth, they were actually pretty tasty.

Speaking of weird food, an option in my school lunch yesterday was something called rognons de porc. Because I thought it looked tasty, I had some. I almost regretted it afterwards considering how weird the texture of the meat I was eating was. I learned later that I had eaten pork kidneys. Ohhh... well, the cream puff that was offered for dessert washed them down properly!
As of yesterday, all the members of my family in Oregon are officially United States citizens.
I don't know if you knew, but I'm an immigrant from the Philippines who came to the USA in 2007. To become a citizen, you must live in the country as permanent residents for five years. We hit the five-year mark a month before I left for France, and the official process went by quickly. My parents took the test and the oath, and now I can finally proudly (and legally) call myself an American citizen.

Here's a picture of the flag I took last time I was in San Francisco.
Because becoming a US citizen while living in the USA, is too mainstream. ;)
On Friday the 23rd, the Banque Alimentaire (France's food pantry) was holding a collection event at the local supermarket. Members of the Rotary Club of Parthenay served as volunteers organizing the products and greeting customers, and my school's outbound Matthieu and I helped out as well.

It felt really good to be helping out listening to the Christmas music playing in the background! I just can't wait for the holiday season to arrive, it's my favorite.
I'm going to speak a bit about my progress in school now mainly because I know my grandma would like to hear it. So if you don't feel like reading tedious stuff about grades, go ahead and stop reading here, I don't blame you. Till the next time!
If you're going to continue reading like I know my grandma is, here is a photo of my notebook for my economics and social sciences class.

If taking notes like this for 6 hours a week isn't going to make me fluent in writing French, I don't know what is.
At this point, I have experienced getting higher scores than the average class score on certain tests. While it doesn't happen often, it happens nonetheless. Like on the last social sciences test we took (we had to analyze documents and rely on our knowledge to compose this synthesis paper in two hours, in FRENCH may I add), I got a 12,5 when the class average was an 11,4. I don't really know how. It must have been a fluke. So yeah this is what it looked like.

And on the last math test, I got a 14,5 when the class average was approximately 8.
That's all I feel like saying for now. A la prochaine fois!

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