Wednesday, March 15, 2017

L'amour est une Porte Ouverte {Love is an Open Door}

Bonjour,

A recent incident involving an unexpected curb and my susceptible ankle has caused me to delay in posting.

While all of my previous blogs have centered around a particular theme, I thought I might now reflect on my time here in France. In doing so, I hope to preserve a few valuable impressions that I have had. I could begin from one of many paths, but I choose perhaps my favorite of all: My impression of the language.

French is considered one of the romance languages, and while I think that one can find something admirable concerning any language, my dreamer heart chooses to capitalize on one particular word: inspirer. "Inspirer" is a french verb that translates to "to breathe in, to inhale". Another more expected translation for English speakers is literally "to inspire." I think it is absolutely amazing that such a word is capable of dual meanings. To consider one meaning in light of the other is to capitalize on the former. This is one tiny detail that makes up the cause for my love and admiration for such a language as French.

Despite the stigma of French being a "romance" language, I have had much difficulty learning the language. (I believe I love it more than it loves me!) My bilingual and multilingual friends have assured me that learning a new language comes with its share of hardships, but my love for the language causes me to become impatient and frustrated with myself. Despite this, I have managed to dream twice in French! Until recently, I had no idea that such a thing was possible! This intrigues me and encourages me to study French (and other languages) even more.

Another gem of the French culture is the accessibility of coffee! My coffee-loving heart can hardly contain it's happiness at the site of coffee vending machines! In the U.S., I have never seen a single coffee vending machine. The machines here in France charge approximately .80 euros for a hot coffee beverage and the like (hot chocolate, cappuccino, etc.). Aside from this, every restaurant I have dined in has not disappointed with their quality of coffee.

I have had only a few encounters with the French culture that have been uncomfortable or difficult to comprehend. Lack of personal space is a big difference for me. Bisous are often expected when meeting up with friends or acquaintances. (They are light kisses on either side of one's cheeks!) Also, I have not managed to finish a full meal while holding both my knife and fork at the same time which is an expectation I am not accustomed to. Despite these minor details, I remain adamant about learning and growing in the French culture daily. I love the knowledge I have been exposed to by traveling and the people I have met along the way. This love has exposed new ways of seeing the world and opened new and exciting doors for me to explore beyond. I have 88 days remaining to do so, and hopefully, time after graduation as well!

A bientot! -Albrianna Jenkins

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