General heartache

I guess it’s not that generalized really. I got my potential financial aid notification (I say potential because I’m switching programs and the tuition would be 30% less for the first year if I get into the second one) from NYU and had a serious depressing conversation with my mom where I mostly just absorbed adult perspective.

NYU is REALLY expensive. And I’m just going to be a teacher. McGill and UT Austin are the same quality and both are much, much cheaper. (Of course, I haven’t heard from McGill yet.)

So I’m trying to adjust my thinking away from the presumption that I’ll be in France next year. I didn’t realize how used to the idea I’d gotten. I didn’t realize how much I love France. It feels a little bit like breaking up with someone, in that way where you have to disentangle yourself from a person. And the part where you give up all sorts of secret little hopes and dreams.

It’s really weird. I’ve spent all this time learning how to fit in in France (the other day someone asked me if I was French or American, because I don’t have an accent–of course, she hadn’t heard me talk much yet). And I guess all along the idea wasn’t to learn how to fit in and then leave. It was to learn how to fit in and then benefit from that. To break into French social circles and then get to stay in them for a while. To perfect my French and then get to keep speaking it all the time.

Because as it turns out I really adore the French language. I kind of knew this when I decided to become a French teacher, obviously. But it just keeps sinking in more. Recently I was talking to someone about how Belgians say “septante” and “octante” (I believe) instead of the crazy French addition numbers, and how I thought that was so much simpler and smarter. And then they pointed out that they thought that “soixante-seize” and “quatre-vingt-quinze” have a nice ring. And I actually agree. I still think English is great, because of the number of words and how easy they are to manipulate, but it’s not a pretty language (unless it’s coming from a writer).

It’s not just the language though, or obviously Montreal would be just as exciting. It’s also the culture. As hard as it is to break into I think it’s really rewarding when you do. I think the history is fascinating. I like the feel of the streets. I like the way when (most) men look at you on the street they don’t feel obliged to say something ridiculous to you. I like the conversation. I like how people don’t want simple, expected answers to questions. I hardly ever have to say simply that I don’t like George Bush because they expect me to say something much more interesting than that. (And to be honest I hate saying that I dislike George Bush. Disagreeing with him has been such a part of me for the past 8 years that it seems trite to put it in such small words.)

It’s a little funny to realize this all of the sudden, though, because I haven’t been super happy in Reims. I don’t blame France though. France is the part that has more or less made up for it. I blame, well, the city itself. And to some extent the ex.

So, poo. Am trying to remind myself that France will always be here. I can always come back for a summer, or even for a year, after grad school. And at least I will be able to spend my life imparting my bizarre love of a country that’s not my own to impressionable youngsters. In the mean time I feel a little bit torn in two.

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