Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ce que j'aime a Nantes (what I love about Nantes)

As I was sitting hear in my cheerful yellow bedroom, thinking about catching up on all of my blog posts, I realize that for the here and now, it is important for me to write about the present rather than the past. Alas, I write about the things I love here in Nantes and the things I shall miss when I leave this wonderful place. I love the fact that it rains all the time. I always hated rain, as I was the ultimate Florida girl who soaked up the sun swimming up and down a chlorine-filled pool on a daily basis. But now, I feel a sense of okayness when I step outside to the rain-filled mornings in Nantes. No longer a sense of annoyance for the silent misty rain that falls on a daily basis, I now enjoy walking down the street with a bit of a damp numbness on my face. I love how my host father never wastes any food at the table. He thoroughly cleans jars, plates, cans, all to make sure he has not wasted one drop of any sort of food. I will always have the perfect image of him in my mind, scraping out a jar of mustard with a sense of determination. I love how Maylis is so beautiful and yet so unaware of the fact of how beautiful she is. Maylis is a gorgeous thirteen year old girl with a heart yearning to help and love other people. She is an old soul, and yet the perfect teenage girl who sits with me on my bed every night showing me the youtube videos she loves watching. I love how I can cross the street at any time I want, without pushing a button or waiting for a signal. The Nantais are famous for crossing really whenever they feel it necessary to cross. It has been quite the easy habit to pick up. I love that I can go to my favorite boulangerie and get a huge baguette, a coke, and a pain-au-chocolat and eat it while walking on my way to class. I love the little babies in all of the strollers that look so comfortable and yet uncomfortable in their comfortableness. They look all packed in and comfy, while at the same time looking like they might actually like to be able to move around a little bit. I love when the heel of my boot gets a little caught in the cobblestone streets, making me the tiniest bit uneasy with my footing. I love walking up the four flights of stairs to get to the main floor of IES. I love waking up on weekend mornings to the sound of my host brothers having their profound wrestling sessions in the room next door. Paul's laughter combined with Alexis' obvious annoyance... I love when Paul, Clo, Alexis, or Maylis run down the stairs and scream "a table." I love exploring the city, and just walking to see what one may find or where each stride may take you. I love standing outside of the cathedral, simply breathing in all of its magnificence. I love missing my family and friends back in the U.S., mainly because it feels amazing to know that I love the people in my life so much that sometimes it hurts to be so far away. I have already found love and been loved: by my family and my friends. I love going on dates with Guillaume and not really understanding some slang French term he has used. If I don't understand (which is surprisingly not THAT often)I usually just respond with a "oui," to which he always laughs. I may want to shrug off the fact I did not quite understand, but my face must be a walking target for my unsureness. I love all of the noises at the train station: lips touching cheeks during a loving embrace, the clacking of boots against the ground, the rolling of suitcase wheels at different speeds depending on how early or late each traveler is, and the ultimate combination of a high-pitched beep and a pseudo hole-puncher created after each traveler "composts" their ticket. I love the sound of Paul's laugh, because when he laughs, it can fill anyone's soul with joy. I love that when my host mom does laundry, my bedroom is immediately filled with a refreshing breeze with the smell of our detergent, wafting in from the laundry room across the hall. I love the pitter-patter or sometimes thumping of little feet from happy, fighting, angry, or uncontrollably excited children running down the staircase right next to my room. I love trying to explain French words that sound the same in English but mean something different when speaking with actually French People (i.e. the bars "Hangar a Bananes" and "Le Shaft"). I love skyping with my family and friends: seeing different rooms and classrooms with friends and seeing the doggies and grandparents with my parents. I love that my host mother is so diligent in knowing exactly what each of her children has to study and for when. When she decides the kids must study, there is no other decision to be made. I love laying in my bed, looking at all of the pictures I have put up on the shelves that frame two of the walls of my room. I love that my host father is the epitome of a self-less man, who did not even remember his birthday. I love punching in the code to enter IES and having the door make a certain "beeeeeep and errrrrr" sound at the same time, while you have to push the door in with your shoulder in order to ensure that you will actually succeed in getting in. I love that the Nantais have started getting ready for Christmas by decorating the city, even though Christmas is at least two months away. I love when I encounter new kids in my English classes who show an intense desire to learn. Simply, I love my life: in Nantes, in Palm Beach, in Granville. After a week of feeling a bit down and out, I have discovered a sort of rejuvenation, filling me with love and gratitude for all that I have and will have encountered. Three weeks remain, and I expect to fill them with enough love, studying, chatting, and fun as I possibly can.

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