29 March 2010

A Slight Change of Pace

I adore Paris. It's simply absurd the amount of love I have for the city, its people, places, language.

That being said, returning to Paris this weekend [thanks to sir Guillo] was wonderful. I got the chance to see great friends again, make amends with those who shared a month of miscommunication (and therefore misunderstanding) with me and spend time throwing a real party, as compared to the stereotypically accurate American drunkards stumbling, mumbling and yelling everywhere in the street.

Friday night, cigar and wine party at Florian's. It expanded slightly, naturally, but was a nice relaxed party that served as a wonderful teaser for Saturday night.

Which brings us to the long awaited party at Merry's. Almost an entire day spent preparing and party-proofing the house paid off, as French people tend to be pretty destructive with their mad dance moves and mock-rave circles to classic American music like Woo Hoo by Blur.

Yeahhhh right guys. Get your own crappy music, don't make me suffer through it twice.

Before the guests arrived, I succeeded in creating two French desserts [with a little touch of my American roots, granted] - apple tart and chocolate fondant. If that word exists in English. They were wonderful and I was excited to learn a little piece of the French culture that had remained untouched by me for far too long.

Onto the party. Many refreshments - snacks and drinks of all assortments. Gobs of people, coming in and leaving on a regular basis. Loud music and Frenchies pretending to know the already awful lyrics. Le bordel, partout.

Old friends, new friends, good music, bad, too much to drink, not enough dancing. Costumes, shared chucks [on two accounts], sunglasses, jean jackets. Disco ball shirts, blue wigs, Batman, pirates, William Wallace giving and getting bisous, marking everyone and everything with a slight smear of blue paint. All in all, a wonderful night.

The worst thing? Leaving. Besides leaving, having to do it without Merry there. Which sounds strange, and I'm glad Guillo accompanied me to the station, but it felt super wrong.

::short interjection::
You have to understand that I say this because I've known Merry the longest of any French person and he's always been at the station, even if it was just in the nick of time - not being used to his absence, I was naturally a little perturbed. That isn't to say though, that I wasn't grateful for Guillaume's being there. That was nice too.

I guess that just means I have to go back so we can redo, which is quite alright with me.

Well kids, this is where I leave you for today. Time for me to work on the steadily mounting pile of French homework that I've managed to acquire during the first half of my semester here [which, by the way, is over]. Angers, you're alright. As long as your citizens don't hit me when I ride my bike. Please and thank you.


"Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open."
-Elmer G. Letterman

25 March 2010

Slightly Obsessed?

Being in love with that which you are passionate about isn't a bad thing, right? Even though I often feel part of a cult, running through the choreographed moves of an AIESEC dance without a thought of my next step, basking in the glory that is my family, it's worth it. Every second I spend with AIESEC, whether it be my chapter from home or another one from a random country is a second I know I'll cherish for many years to come.

With the sentiments out of the way, I can only warn you about the exorbitant amount of excitement aching to leak from my brain onto this godforsaken blog.

First things first, I can't help myself - NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO ROCK. I realize I've mentioned this, but after Tuesday night / Wednesday morning, my enthusiasm has multiplied beyond what I imagined was possible. The cause? My new role in AIESEC, as VPOGX.

Boo-yah, France, you have been trumped.

As if winning the position wasn't enough, the experience left me feeling ecstatic before even knowing the results. I guess it's natural - after not seeing some of my favorite people in the world for weeks or months, they were all in the same room, crowded around the computer in greeting. I started out slightly anxious, apprehensive for my quickly approaching speech for candidacy, but my nerves were immediately calmed at the sight of Nick, LoBo, Savs, Ash, Ryan, Sam, Will, Ambuh, Steverson, Sarah, Robyn, Keiko and the rest of my AIESEC Kansas family. I was a little shaken at the beginning of my speech, until I realized that I was far too tired to be such and remembered who I was talking to. I have to admit, the worst part was probably knowing that my face was projected onto a large screen for the entire LC. I normally wouldn't have a problem with that, but let's face it - I make strange faces. And it was 2h30 chez moi.

No matter. The experience was worth it and left me feeling refreshed and even more pumped for the year to come.

After such a wonderful mid-week happening, it was bound to continue being a great couple of days. Sure, I made a couple stupid mistakes on some tests, but my mindset remains optimistic for the future - after all, I'm going to Paris this weekend.

Can I get a 'hellz yeah' ?
[this is where you either say uh, no, or play along. For my sake, we'll pretend you're doing the latter.]

So. I'm happy. To put it lightly. I'm ready to see my silly Asnières-ian friends and tell them all about my slight, but necessary and totally appropriate obsession with AIESEC. Not that they don't already have an idea - but once more surely can't hurt.

@ly for today, I bid you all a lovely evening.

"You make me understand how wonderful it is for little lizards when they find that one special rock that's perfect for sunning themselves on. You make me lizard-happy."
- Randy K. Milholland

13 March 2010

Semaine de l'Enfer: Rafraîchissant [beyond belief]

It isn't that this past week hasn't been interesting, but rather overwhelming. I've certainly enjoyed it, but I am more than happy for the weekend's arrival. When you aren't accustomed to 21 hours of class lasting long past 3 p.m. it gets a little frustrating.

I've started taking my bike instead of the bus, as my pass expired at the end of February. It's nice to have the freedom from the obnoxious schedule, but it means that I have to take into consideration the fact that it takes 20 - 30 minutes to get into town now, depending on my energy reserve, often used up just in school.

The positive side to this week:
- I aced my Phonetics test
- Oral presentation for Langue class is finally over
- I've finally fallen into a routine, making my days slightly less hectic
- As classes progress, my interest mounts by the day
- More presentations in classes means nerves less shaken by standing up in front of an audience
- Reasons for excitement in my return to Kansas keep piling up
- AIESEC involvement once more

I guess it's time you all hear a little bit about AIESEC, as I said I would be mentioning it in my first post, and I've somewhat avoided the topic in order to bypass overwhelming everyone who reads this with the passion that is inevitably going to leak out. In a nutshell, AIESEC is awesome. Besides our goal of international cooperation and worldwide acceptance and understanding, the people are the best in the world. My chapter of the organisation, @Kansas, is my family. They are my best friends, my sisters and brothers, my confidantes, my teachers. It's been no less than stressful living without daily interaction from them, but this past week has brought me back into the group. Not only am I running for an EB [executive board] position for my next semester, but I'm remaining involved in my OGX [outgoing exchange] team, and continuing my search for all who want to do an international internship. In short, it's wonderful, and my days have been refreshed, my motivation replenished.

For those who don't know what AIESEC is, the base of the organisation is international exchange. We send people from our universities to other countries [we're located in 107 around the world] to do internships of all genres. We also find businesses in our area who are willing to accept interns from other countries. Aside from the business side of it, we spend much of our time "bonding." That being said, our bonding time is the highlight of my every week. We throw the best parties, as we enjoy each other's company [maybe a bit too much], take road trips together, go to conferences, and DANCE. That's one of my favorite parts - dancing. Whether it's dancing to one of the many choreographed songs we have or just dancing to dance, the energy is so strong and positive that it's the best place in the world.

I guess it's hard to explain exactly what we do and who we are via text without sounding like an obsessive college student, but I'm proud to say that I love the organisation and everyone in it. It's wonderful to meet people from around the world who share your interest, who are unified for the same cause. We're going to change the world, and the best part is that we're going to have a ball doing it.

In my latest oral presentation for my French class, we were supposed to present something from back home, that was part of our culture or simply our daily life. Of course, I presented AIESEC. At first I was shaky, unsure of how it would go. It took me less than a minute to realize something; I've done this presentation hundreds of times. Not only is it one of my biggest passions, it's my family. After that revelation, the presentation went smoothly and I got the chance to share a large portion of my life with classmates from around the world. It was marvelous. I showed them pictures of our ridiculous traditions, the newest roll call dance from the latest conference, and told them about the organisation. After that, I didn't even have to explain why I was in love with it - the expression on my face and the twinkle in my eye said it all. [and as cheesy as that sounds...it's freggin' true.]

Presentation over, AIESEC refreshed in my mind, I'm ready for the weekend [even though I missed out on today's excursion due to my phone alarm's lazy self for not going off], invigorated by everything that I miss back home and the anxiety to return and share all of my great stories with the people I love the most. [that includes all of my families - biological and AIESEC.] Before that, however, I'm off to make more memories, take part in more stories to share.

On that note, I bid you all a very merry [merry as in joyful and celebratory, but also Merry as in one of my best friends, as he sure knows how to have fun] weekend.

Plouche kids. Gros bisougles.

"Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries."
-Corita Kent

03 March 2010

55 Grams of Happiness

I awoke this morning to a strange package outside of my door. After a restless night filled with migraine-induced tossing and turning, I was anxious for a positive morning.

Moving to my desk, I opened the petite yellow box and immediately smiled. Arranged neatly inside were various souvenirs from Paris, courtesy of Merry and Guillaume [and Guillo's sister].

To start off, I read the letter from Guillaume, explaining that he and Merry had copied my mother, sending me a box of gifts that couldn't be found in Angers; a pack of Skittles [but not orange, as they don't exist in France], a picture of Guillaume's passport [an ongoing joke], a miniature model of the Eiffel Tower, a bisous on a candy wrapper, and an empty glass bottle labeled "DO NOT OPEN," as it was full of air from Merry's garden.

Needless to say, my morning was made. Besides the contents mentioned in the letter, there were also two postcards, one from each of the boys. They were immediately added to my "mur d'amis," a collection of cards, letters and pictures from my friends and family back home.

As great as the package was, it also sparked a brief moment of dejection, remembering my families back home. Thank God for Skype, eh?

I guess it really is the little things that make you appreciate everything and everyone in your life.

One thing is for sure, though - French Skittles - not as good as American ones. Skittles are supposed to be artificial, guys. Come on, now.

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."
-George Burns

[photo by Aubrey Wilson]