Thursday, March 25, 2010
It's the Americans
I am perfectly aware that I haven't posted about Carnaval yet. You can't blame me! I want to do it justice, and by doing it justice, I am including so many details that you should be able to FEEL the excitement pouncing on you from France. Though the 717 pictures to choose from certainly don't hurt. So, WHEN I post it, it will be MASSIVELY LONG and probably take you hours to read. But you don't mind, right?!
This is another one of those real-time blog updates! As usual, I'm posting this about the time that I need to rant about my life here.
As a pretext for this, let me explain that the past two weeks have been rough. We didn't have internet here for a chunk of last week, and I'm an internet junkie (and so is Nathalie), so things here were frustrating. Beyond that, I haven't really done anything with any of my friends here for awhile.
Thus begins the rant.
If you don't know, I'm a very huggy person. I'm one of those annoying people that will hug you for longer than you're used to, and I may even attempt to hug you so hard that you can't breathe. My friends at home are used to this, and happen to be the same way. Even better, I'm so close with them that I can literally lean on them whenever I want (or need) to. Although "hug-training" has gone well (largely thanks to the fact that my friend Nolwenn is a similar huggy-person), I still slip into my normal, hug-addict self with the friends I've become closer to. Unfortunately, I sometimes get the always-fun reaction of people being kind of rude about it-- pushing me away, shrugging me off, or just generally spazzing out. It shouldn't upset me, but it does a little. I become embarrassed, I feel silly, and I feel snubbed. It's just not fun.
That brings me to my second point. I never wanted to see 8th grade again, because I had the worst experience with friends in 8th grade (though I came out of it well enough, with some wonderful friends that I love dearly). I've said before that I love the Frenchies, and they DO prove themselves to be awesome, but it's still not quite THERE. It's not quite there to the point that they make plans in front of me and don't include me in them.
I'd like to pretend that it's because they think I don't understand them, but let's be honest... I've been here for 3 months. It's apparently not rude to invite yourself along (whatwhatwhat?) but I AM SO SOCIALLY AWKWARD and I have warning bells in my head telling me that is a bad idea.
Worse, I don't have the guts to say something when I'm not happy. I don't want to offend somebody (maybe it's normal to only hang out with your family? Uhm, all the time?), or maybe they think I'm doing something (ha!), but it wouldn't hurt to ASK, right? I mean, generally, if you want somebody to be there, don't you just ASK THEM ALONG? Because not being invited me along makes me feel like I couldn't matter less. I'm good for laughs (make me say cuss words in French! it's hilarious! *sarcasm*), but I'm starting to feel like I'm just the "school friend" of too many people.
(I'm still trying though! I AM STILL TRYING. I AM NOT GIVING UP. I'm working on making plans for this weekend, and a few of the more-wonderful Frenchies seem to have picked up on my mood-- Nolwenn, my fellow hug-addict, made a subtle point of giving me bajillions of hugs yesterday. I was feeling particularly glum and I REALLY needed some good hugs. Once school was over, I told Camille about the fact that I was tired of spending so much time alone and can we PLEASE PLEASE plan something for as soon as possible-- and now plans are in the works for this weekend. As well as a few other unexpected-by-still-awesome people picking up on my need for social interaction... it'll be okay.)
That wasn't truly a rant. I guess those are both things you should know (besides the fact that sometimes, I miss home so hard that I want to cry; that's not particularly new, either).
You may not know this, but I've never considered myself to be outstandingly patriotic. I'm an optimist, sure (though I guess you couldn't tell sometimes by the tone of these posts...), but I know that we have a LOT of problems to sort out. Big problems, and less important ones, but problems none-the-less, and so many that I hesitate to claim pride in the country I call home, but haven't felt that GREAT about being a citizen of the US. I have loved France so long-- idealized it; the superior education system, the relaxed attitude about a multitude of things, and of course, the language.
Since being here, I'm still as in love with France as ever (and the language). I wasn't right about all these things (in some of my experiences), but yet... France has something going for it. These people (all of them that I have met)... they ALL seem to love their country. I can't really explain it, but their entire attitude (during the Winter Olympics, for football [the soccer kind], the fact that they all know the national anthem by heart...) just tells me that they are so PROUD to be French. It makes me want to be proud of my country.
But, you guys, it's really hard to be proud of your country when you're in a foreign country where you hear a TEACHER insulting your country to your face while your classmates stare at you. It's really hard to smile and laugh it off, when you're thinking that you don't want to be American if it means being all these horrible things, when you feel the eyes on you and these people you want to like you judging you based on the fact that you happen to be from the US, and you're probably one of the few Americans they've met. It really sucks to be American when you realize that yes, some of the things they say are true, and that maybe-just-possibly-they-believe-these-things-are-true-of-YOU.
This isn't to say the French hate us; in fact, they seem to like us well enough (but they loooove Obama in general, as well as American pop culture)... but some of them seem to blame us for everything wrong in the world. And it is really quite awful to be the subject of such a sentiment. I leave History far too often, after learning something I already know, and hearing yet-another insult about my country, feeling worn down and in desperate need of a hug. I laugh it off, and joke about it, but I still feel the sting of the insult.
Is it too much to ask to be proud of my country? Just once, can't we do something that isn't going to bring about world destruction, or isn't supporting something awful? Is it impossible to recognize that we are NOT THE ONLY country to blame for some international problems (such as Climate Change... did you realize that we are the only country in the world that pollutes?! THE ONLY ONE, YOU GUYS. *more sarcasm*), and that there are worthwhile things that come out of the United States? That maybe we aren't all religious-driven, brain-washing bullies with a twisted mind bent on making everybody else just like us?
I want to be proud to be an American. I know we have problems; but we aren't the only ones. I just don't want to be judged on the stereotypes and mistakes of my country. So, yes, Frenchies, I am an American.
In other news, I have to actually participate in school now. We're starting real Physics in Physique, and it is SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED HERE. I didn't think that it could make less sense than it did before, but somehow they manage with the simplest concepts of Physics (force diagram! how is that DIFFERENT here?). I've been having to do French tests; my French teacher was surprised to discover that I can write in French, and I think his new goal is to make me write in French verb tenses I don't know as often as possible. I hope it'll work; I'll let you know. I had an English test today-- it was the easiest test ever, and I kind of loved it. Other than the fact that I don't know what the heck a "preterit" is or "irregular verbs" in English (wait, we HAVE those?!?!). I mean, I know the verbs, I just don't know the funky specifics like that-- I've never learned English like this.
Okay, that's all for now!
Hope you guys are doing well, enjoying life, and such!