I remember imagining the month of February. It seemed so far away, and it being so out of reach made me feel confident in the time I had left. But now it’s here. Now it’s not an idea or an image in my head, it’s reality.
As I may have mentioned in a previous post, French lycées (high schools) have many vacations. However, that comes with a cost in the form of LONG school days and lots of homework. So after every month and a half of hard work, you get two weeks of freedom and fun. When I first arrived here, this change in school schedules was a big shock to me, but I have gotten accustomed to this.
The first week of the break was great. I hung out with friends, went shopping, etc. Then as the first week ended, I started feeling sick. At first, I thought it was only a mild cold, but after a trip to the doctor’s office, I found out it was COVID. So I spent a whole half of my precious vacation in my room with nothing to do. I basically just slept, watched TV, and ate all day. And since I was the only one infected in my family, I wasn’t able to spend much time with them or socialize. I did, however, get some much-needed rest. And once I was negative and the quarantine period was lifted, I was ready to bounce back up.
The weekend following my self-isolation was the AFS weekend. The last one had been in October (a month after arriving). This weekend brought a lot of newcomers that were staying for the second semester of the exchange. The weekend also included the French AFSers that were departing to other countries. So we were able to socialize and meet many new people. They were all very kind and seemed very excited. Many of the newcomers didn’t speak French, or they only knew the basics, which reminded me of myself back then. I really had no idea what was going on way back when, and I could feel those same types of emotions from these AFSers.
There were many moments throughout this month that I wish I could’ve paused just for a second. Just to hold on to the moment for a little while longer. The months are slipping by, and it’s a bittersweet feeling. Month six has come and gone, and while it stings, it was a good month (minus that one week of headaches, fatigue, and high fevers). Here’s to the four more months that hopefully are just as great. (If not better!)
Until next time,
Captions for photos:
Photo 1: My host brother and I having dinner with the family at a Crêperie.
Photo 2: My host mom in front of her birthday cake. My host family sings and brings out a cake in the evening for every birthday. Back home, we usually do it early in the morning. .
Photo 3: My friend, Sofia H. and I at a cool vinyl shop in Rennes. They have many little stores just like this one all over the city.
Note: Mackenzie is on a year program from our Greater Los Angeles (GLA) Area Team (AT) to France, 2021-2022. She is the recipient of a GLA local need-based scholarship.