Well, it’s official, I had my first breakdown last night. I was working on an assignment (a 20 page article analysis of a theater piece we’re reading) and I just couldn’t do it. Maybe it was my lack of sleep this past weekend, or my inability to switch over to French after a weekend away, but I felt as if I had hit a wall. I’m just really really tired. French for 3 months straight is not easy, and I’m getting to the point where all I want to hear and read and see is ENGLISH. It’s only 19 days away (yeah, that soon), and I’m ready for that. It’s frustrating not understanding everything all the time, and takes mostly all my concentration and brain-power to do so. I doubt that I will ever be fluent (as I would like to be), but that’s okay. I’m American, I speak English, and I do what I can with French. These past few months have taught me so much, but I know that my finals for classes here don’t matter in the long-run and I just want to take advantage of the time I have left here.
Speaking of time left in Paris, I went away last weekend and I’m going away this weekend! So much for absorbing the last bits of Paris while I still can! I went to Barcelona with 4 girlfriends this past weekend, and luckily we got to stay at one of their friend’s apartments who is also studying in IES. That saved us money on room and board (and left more money for alcohol…) The nightlife WAS a blast, and definitely a new experience. 2 all-nighters in a row is definitely not my thing, but it was fun for a weekend. I’m also not a big fan of starting our days off at 3pm, but we still managed to do a bit of sight-seeing. Barcelona was different than I had expected. First off, it was COLD. It was about 39-50 degrees all weekend (when the sun was directly hitting you). I imagined Barcelona a bit like summer all year long, which is ridiculous. But it was still beautiful seeing the water and a lot of greenery around the city. We ate very well – lots of sangria, wine, tapas one night, and Italian the next. I’m glad I went, but I definitely would rather go back in the warmer season next time. We were all very much lusting for Paris after being there for 1 day – the metro there makes zero sense, it’s expensive, and slightly inefficient. I didn’t feel as unsafe as other people had made the city out to be, but I will surely return to the United States as a complete pick-pocketer paranoiac.
Next weekend is Vienna, Austria, primarily for their legendary Christmas markets. A Jew spending her first weekend of Hannukah in Dutch country? No need to comment, I know I’m a disgrace.
We also had a re-entry meeting with the IES staff tonight and it just made me really sad… I feel old now that my study abroad is nearly over. For any of you reading this who have not gone abroad (yet), DO IT. It was the best decision I ever made. Even if you come home with $0 in your pocket, you will not regret it.
Thanks to everyone for keeping up with me this semester. I’ll definitely have 1 or 2 more posts before I go, but for now, enjoy some pictures from Barcelona and try to stay warm!