Thursday, June 23, 2011

Before France: An Announcement and Outbound Camp

Bonjour! Hello, mes amis! Comment-allez vous? So, a couple of months ago it was revealed to me that I would be going to S├Ęte, France! Soon after the announcement I went to Google to see where this place was in France and what it looked like. Then I saw this picture:
I almost had a heart attack because this place looks so awesome! My excitement for the Rotary Youth Exchange program skyrocketed. For those of you who don't know, I was born on a small island called Puerto Rico. My earliest memories are of me at the beach. I was so excited when I found out that the beach is but a five minute walk away from my host family's home! But this isn't all fun and games. I'm currently working to get my visa so I can stay in France and practicing the language. I've had two years of French class and I know that is far from being enough to master the language. A few months ago I met a French person who was visiting my town and I stopped dead, forgetting how to say what time it was. I'm getting rusty about things that I learned less than a year ago! So, finally, I'm trying to get some needed practice (reading newspapers and listening to music, all in French). 
Recently I went to Rotary Youth Exchange Outbound Camp in Edmond, Oklahoma. I met so many awesome people who next year will do similar but extremely different treks than I will (confusing, I know). The uniting factor between all of us is that we all will be departing places (for some of us it's our home, and for others it's just a place to eat and sleep) and living in a new world outside of the United States of America for a year. I find this to be incredible, that there are others like me who are crazy enough to take a year from their lives and dedicate it to learning a new language and culture. In the few days we had at camp we learned so many things, preparing us to go all our separate ways. We also became a family there, one family who shared laughter and tears. This whole experience made my exchange seem more real in my eyes, reminding me it's just around the corner...
As my exchange gets closer and closer, the more real it becomes. Instead of this fantasy that I've had for the past few years it is becoming tangible. This both frightens and excites me. I'm happy to have both feelings because they balance each other out, hopefully making my eyes more open about this whole experience. Well, I shall continue reading Le Monde. Au revoir!