The GoGlobal Blog

Month: July 2014

Ah, the sweet nectar of failure

Ah, the sweet nectar of failure

The fact of the matter is that no one likes to fail.

But studying in a foreign country where I barely speak the language means I fail at everyday things. And deep down, that hurts.

Early morning on Rue Bon Pasteur, Aix-en-Provence

As a writer, I take pride in my language. I know it inside and out, reveling in my ability to mold it into whatever shape I choose. Yet I forget I’m still learning it. I often have to correct myself when using “I” or “me;” “well” and “good” are just as tricky. Don’t get me started on “who” and “whom.” But for every issue I have with English, French presents tenfold. I stutter, lose focus, forget vocabulary – all the usual trappings of a novice.

So when I read this article on Huffington Post, my awkward, hulking French problem came into focus: I know how to speak English so well that making a mistake in French is painful. And that’s ok.

Before I came to Aix, I thought that three weeks would be plenty of time to really immerse myself in the language. With one week left, I see I still have many years of French ahead of me. Rather than dreading them, however, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve always oriented my life around goals, and the cause of learning a second language seems like a worthy one.

Speaking two languages gives you the ability to see the world through two different lens. It opens doors to a world full of new music, films and novels – people too. I can see the progress I’ve made since I came to Aix. In fact, learning and speaking in English seems too easy now. But more importantly, I’ve shaken off that fear of failure. So what if I use the wrong verb tense? It’s better to try (and possibly fail!) to make that connection than to keep the words inside my head.

Voyage A Grand Vitesse

Voyage A Grand Vitesse

These past few days have gone by so fast! Trying to take it all in at the same time is exhausting–combine that with classes, homework, excursions, and jet lag and you’ve got one tired puppy… but–of course–it’s an exhaustion I wouldn’t give up in a million years. Being here in the south of France is not only beautiful but it’s like a breath of fresh air. Everything here really does move at a slower pace, that’s not just some silly exaggeration Americans made up. People move slower, enjoy life more, and it’s so easy to see. There’s just so much to enjoy here, you have to take your time to be able to capture it all–and not on film, but in your memories. That’s what I’ve been trying to do these past couple of days. Breathe, look, and listen. It’s amazing what you see when you do.

And yes, the answer everyone is looking for… The food is incredible ;] The first meal I had was incredible (of course followed by every meal after that as well)–3 full crawdads on a bed of deliciousness. No, I really had no idea how to go about eating them but all concerns went out the window when we arrived…

Honestly, this experience is amazing and and unforgettable and I’m not even half way through! Oh Provence, you have stolen my heart! A bientôt!

Au Revoir, Mes États-Unis…

Au Revoir, Mes États-Unis…

Sky Harbor International  And so the journey begins… With my excitement beginning to mount, demonstrating itself in an anxious nausea (“butterflies” being all too endearing), I headed to the airport. Ticket in hand, I was still tormented with a disbelief that can only stem from such a surreal opportunity… I’M TOO PUMPED. THIS CAN’T BE REAL. Yet, still also unbearably nervous…And it is with this frame of mind that I walked through security, unsure of what this new adventure may have in store.

Now, I have never really been a fan of airports. Forced out of your shoes and your dignity, you are essentially trapped in a large maze of aggravated individuals only concerned with their own agenda. Top that off with squeezing yourself and all you carry into a stall just to pee, and food three times the price any sane person would pay, and you’ve got yourself a socially acceptable form of torture… but this time was so different.

photo 2

I decided to bid adieu to America with one of the great delicacies of the age and while sipping my McCafe Mocha Frappe (I should be paid for product placement… My name is McDonald after all…) I started talking to the gentleman waiting beside me at the gate. He introduced himself as a man named Paul-typically a homebody- off to go celebrate his friend’s 50th wedding anniversary. He was so genuinely happy with life. He had children of which he was extremely proud, and grandchildren whom he adored. His perspective on life was almost beautiful at times. With his stories about mining and accounting, dogs and cabins, he was an amateur philosopher, wise even beyond his vast experiences. “People–just people–people can be so fun if you are willing,” he said. Let my experience guide me, he said, meet amazing people and do unforgettable things.

Thank you so much, Paul. I will.