I can’t even begin to recount this week; I learn so many new things and meet so many new people that each day here feels like a week. On Thursday, I skyped with a friend who’s been living in China for over a year. Not only was it great to catch up a bit, it was also great to talk with someone who understood the process I’m going through. In short, all of the new input is exciting but utterly exhausting. And after nearly six weeks here, the novelty of newness is wearing off a bit in the sense that I’m no longer excited just because something is new.
This week was especially exhausting (in fact, I believe I’m coming down with a cold from one too many late nights), but for good reasons. For one, I’m socialising more than ever: not once this week did I eat a meal alone, I went to a play on Wednesday, and I’m learning to navigate being in between two cultures. I’m also beginning to see my spoken French improve. Since coming here, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my ability to understand French, which has been almost as frustrating as encouraging since I can often understand people without being able to express myself or add to the conversation. But now, I’m beginning to use the words I’m learning in class. I’m registering patterns of speech and copying them when I talk. I’m also starting to switch between languages more easily, which sometimes means mid-sentence! Last night, at a birthday apéro for Yaciana’s sister, Yaciana’s brother-in-law told me he was amazed my French was so good after a month and a half here. What a great reminder that though I’m not where I want to be with French yet, I can communicate in a foreign language, and that with “a pretty neutral accent,” to quote the brother-in-law.
I wish I had better words to describe this experience. I can’t seem to find words today—I used them all up this week, evidently!
Until next week!