Sunday, May 19, 2013

Obligatory Post on the 19th: May

A wise and all-powerful oracle once told me:

The answer to the ultimate question, of the universe, of life, of everything... 42.

Look, it's even official on Google's calculator.

I bring this up because at this moment, I have 42 days left in France.

There isn't really much to say, other than how I'm feeling about it.

To put it bluntly, I'm content with the date June 30. I have no wish to leave any sooner, nor any wish to leave later. Ten months is a long time to take a sharp detour from the path you choose to take in life, and I am quite excited to come back and prepare for senior year. However, there is nothing I regret, and I don't think I could have made a better choice for my junior year than this exchange. I've explored Europe, become fluent in the French language, tasted weird and delicious foods, and made some unforgettable friends that I know I will keep for life. Before I start to sound like I'm writing the entry concluding my exchange, which in no way is happening until the very end, I'll digress.

Anyway I began working on my exposé for the end of the year, a presentation that I will give to the Rotary Club of Parthenay on June 10 (and I will translate in English eventually to give in front of the Tualatin Rotary Club). I found myself stuck in a quandary as to how I should organize it (how the heck do I sum up my year abroad without reading all my journal entries in the order I wrote them or something), but I found a cohesive way to do it: I divided it into four sections- the Rotary Weekends with district 1510, the voyages I undertook on my own, a special surprise section (that I will spoil here is a section dedicated to the food I have eaten on my exchange, since for some reason I have over 30 photos of me eating different delicacies of the region), and my impressions of my exchange. Ah, I don't really know what to put in the latter, but I figure I'll cheat, read through my blog, and pull direct quotes from it. ;)

I'm proud of the voyages section of my slideshow. Here, take a sneak peek at four of my favorite slides:

The opening slide for the voyages section, with logos that will forever have a special place in my heart

Coming right after the New Year's at La Roche sur Yon slide, a map representing all the countries I have seen in 2013 so far
The slide for The Netherlands
The slide for Poland

As you might be able to deduce, I take my presentations very seriously. If there is some way I can make the entire thing accessible on the web, I'll do so once it's complete.

Oh! So my souvenir that represents my entire year came in in the mail on Friday.

My new watch.
I created this watch on the website It's a fabulous French website where you can customize your own watch, and as a bonus, it's made in France! When I heard about at the beginning of the school year, I knew I had to make one for my exchange. I wasn't quite sure until recently what to put on it; I think the idea came to me around the time of Eurotour?
Anyway, here's an explanation for what it is (other than the French flag on its face, of course).

The straps are cropped images from the cover art for MIKA's single, Elle Me Dit (She Tells Me). I spoke about this song on the post on the 19th of September, but I don't think I've ever actually explained what the song talks about.

It's from the point of a view of a boy who is continually harassed by his mother, because she nags him to get out and do something with his life. The two most important lines are, in my opinion, Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie? (Why are you ruining your life?) and Elle me dit, "Danse!" (She tells me, "Dance!") This is the song that pretty much every exchange student in France knows. It's incredible fun to dance to it, and when we were doing karaoke in the bus on Eurotour, everyone sang to it enthusiastically. I like the message contained in this song- you only have one life, and you might as well make the most of it while you have it. Don't waste it, and don't be afraid to make something of it. The fact that it is in French only makes it even better; it is indeed a perfect representation of my exchange year. One of the theme songs of the year, pretty much.

I'll be keeping this song in mind throughout the last six weeks of my exchange, just like in the days when I first heard it before I even became involved with Rotary.

I'm almost there! 

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