Friday, May 17, 2013

Drawing Near the End

I realized something important.  Something unbelievably sad but so glad I realized it.

Time is running out.  With the people who I love and who love me.  And myself, in the life of an exchange student.  To understand that I only have 50 days left in this irreplaceable experience is one of the hardest cognitions I've ever had. 

It especially hit me when my current host mom defended me in a small problem that existed months ago during my year abroad.  It no longer bothers me, but it surprised me so much when I saw her utterly unsatisfied as I clearly witnessed her tremendous care for me.  Being so close to her almost like my real mother lets me feel grateful and overwhelmed that I cried in front of her for the first time.  (Sorry host mum, I didn't mean to scare you!)  I might have made her feel guilty by mistake, but I will tell you now that I was submerged in thankfulness which explains all those bursting tears.  Trust me, being able to have all host moms supportive makes your exchange year so much easier.

Even recently, my best friends at lycée reminded me that I'm going to leave them soon and they'll cry when I do!  They expressed how next year without me will be different and empty.  Their strong commitment towards our friendship deeply touched my heart, and I know that separating from them will tear my heart out.

I know but I don't want to know:  The time I have left with countless numbers of wonderful, loving people...
... is coming abruptly to an end.
I was quite happy to know that summer is approaching and that I'm going home soon.  After all, I will get to see familiar faces, eat delicious and stomach-relieving food cooked by my parents and I can share to everyone about my exchange year.  I will also start a part-time job probably, exercise (which is very essential) and prepare for my senior year.  Time to move back to what exchange students call it, 'normal' life... is super soothing after a year full of unpredictability.
However, the opposite side of myself is cringing in sadness.  I realized every minute of exchange I have left is precious and how crucial it is to not miss but pounce on every opportunity that remains.  I will miss my new friends from lycée, Rotary weekends (1 & 2), Eurotour and random encounters like the Australian on a ski slope.  I will miss the people who supports me like my professeurs, music conductor of the youth orchestra, karate sensei and hand-ball coach.  I will miss the host families that generously welcomes me into their life.  I will miss the Rotarians who offers countless opportunities and help when I need it the most.  They deserve an enormous credit for that.
This only leaves me to enjoy these 50 days of exchange I have left.  Basically every weekend is booked with plans, so no time shall be wasted!  It's all I have after all.
Running the last leg of my adventure!
ps:  We need some catch up about the plenty of events that happened after Eurotour.
Inbound Meeting #3
This was the last official weekend with all the exchange students of district 1750, held in a remote village called Soeuvres, two hours away from my host-village of Louhans.  We all went to visit the UNESCO-Heritage-Site acknowledged basilique in another village of Vézelay (which I already visited with my second host family in March) and enjoyed watching stars past midnight.

Waterfall Hike in the Jura Mountains
My awesome second host family took me for a day of hiking which was refreshing.  It was so nice to see them again and get up-to-date about the past few months we've been apart.

With my super-cool host father on his Harley Davidson that he drove me home with
DELF (Diplôme D'Études en Langue Française) Exam
My german exchange friend and I went to the city of Chalon to pass the international French language exam which comprised of four parts: Oral comprehension, writing comprehension, written production and oral production.  Though we only took an easy level, A2, we enjoyed together the process of learning the language in different manners since January.
I had so much fun when I passed my oral production!  (Yes, seems irregular but it's possible to have fun in exams.)  There were two examiners, one of them assigned to use a stopwatch and listen to my pronunciation.  So as demanded, I began talking for supposedly two minutes about myself.  I boosted confidently in French saying,
My parents are both Japanese so I'm Japanese, but I'm Canadian too because I speak English at school though I speak Japanese at home... and so on, and on, and on.
It turns out that the examiner who was responsible for timing my speech was literally jaw-dropping-intrigued that he forgot to turn on his stopwatch!  I just went off speculating about my life story for over several minutes all chill without realizing.  The funny thing was that no one realized it until the examiner looked down to see what he was holding.
What a good day.
Romeo et Juliette
Last Sunday, my previous host sister and I went to the local cinema and we watched the romantic story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  EXCEPT, we watched it as a live-screen ballet performance, performed in Moscow by the Bolchoï Russian Ballet Academy!  When I watched it, I wished that my sisters back in Canada were seeing it too, as they are both dancers.  After the show, I emailed by mom letting her know how great it was but however, she replied that they all watched it live-screen too, in Calgary, exactly at the same time as I watched it!  It was so cool how we were precisely doing the same thing at the same time though in different countries!

And Oh My God.  A DAY IN PARIS.
(Would you have clicked on my blog a lot sooner if you saw 'Paris'?)
Just last weekend, I travelled to the capital of France with my Mexican and German exchange friendaccompanied by the Mexican's generous host parents.  During the morning, we did a quick tour of the gigantic world-class arts museum, the Louvre, passed by the Opéra Garnier where Phantom of the Opera is known to haunt (♥), climbed the leg-aching stairs to the Galléries Lafayette roof-top (...too many lazy people waited for the elevator), and finally, the one thing you CANNOT miss: the Tour Eiffel.  It was a BLAST!!!

The glass pyramid of the Louvre

Lower ground floor under the pyramid

View from the Sully, one of the three sections of the gigantesque musuem

Got to see Mona Lisa of L. de Vinci (which is surprisingly small), including The Lacemaker of J. Vermeer, Napoléon III's over-the-top decorated apartments, the statue Aphrodite or known as Venus de Milo, The Turkish Bath by Ingres , The Winged Victory of Samothrace, J. L. David's The consecration of the Emperor Napoléon I and so many more works of art.
Clearly, we were dehydrated at the end as we weren't allowed to drink water inside.

Watch out for 'pickpockets' (people who steal valuable items from you)
especially when looking at objects that require more than a mere glance.
The grandness of artworks!!
Inside the apartments of Napoléon III;
He seemed to have a good taste in décor.
The front upper border of the Opéra Garnier, presenting head-statues of
of renowned musicians like Mozart, Bach and Haydn.
There are also four (full-bodied) statues at the south side
which represents poem, instrumental music, dance and lyrical drama.

Inside Galléries Lafayette: a shopaholic and perfumaholic heaven
The roof-top, allowing an amazing (and free) view of the city
At last, the Tour Eiffel.  Knew that I would come here at some point during my exchange!
France, we love you for giving us an enchanting full day!

I just realized that was the longest 'ps' I've ever written on this blog!
That's all!  Until then, see you next time!



  1. Hi Sari,

    Enjoyed catching up on your adventures and musings. My only comment is that although you are sad your exchange is drawing to a close - you still have almost 2 months - you will make friendships for life and I bet you will see many of these people again in your life. It happens and many may be life long instead of being the is just the beginning of new friendships and adventures. You are right to "pounce" on every opportunity, but don't be sad or depressed about it - just enjoy each day and know that you have had the most incredible opportunity that most never get to experience. A Bientot et avoir du plaisir!

    1. Lots of thanks for your comment, Janet. This experience abroad has been so exceptional that it's unimaginable to not feel down. Although I'm living through the end of it, I completely agree with you that this is also the start of other opportunities that will come later in my life. I am confidently sure that my new friendships will continue forever and of course the adventure as well! Again, thank you for sharing your wisdom - I really appreciate it.