Ma Famille d’Accueil

One of the most wonderful thing about being an exchange student is that, you get the chance to know, and even better, be a part of a new family. A chance that certainly does not stumble upon you everyday, and maybe would not even happen to me if i chose to just sit back, enjoying what are already served, study and finish homework endlessly in Indonesia.

And so… let’s start this brief story about my host family.

Like the other exchange student programs, during my stay, i live with a host family. In my program, my host family is hosting me voluntarily (which means they are not payed), allowing me to be a part of their family with the hope that we can experience an intercultural exchange, while at the same time (well for me) improving my french language skills. In other words, an immersion total in a completely new culture for me, a chance to discover a foreign culture too for the family, and an exceptional wonderful exchange year for all of us. Before arriving, me and my host family, we had contacted each other via emails, and from all the emails i receive they sound super nice and from the information i’ve read, my host family is also very open to new cultures as they love to travel to different countries, including my country Indonesia which they have visited 2 years ago. Knowing this particular information had made me even happier, assuring me that at least my host family had seen a glimpse of how the culture of my country works, and most importantly, they KNOW Indonesia. Funny i know, but seriously people, it has been a hard time for me here finding people who actually know WHERE Indonesia is. Therefore i find it very surprising and interesting that my own host family has actually visited Java and Bali, 2 most famous islands in Indonesia.

And… my expectations are all true. My host family are even beyond my expectations; they are probably the nicest and kindest people i have ever met. Just when i just got off from the train, i was welcomed with the warm smiles of my host father, Pascal, my host mother, Marie-Christine, and my host sister, Lea. Here is a picture of me and the Clochards (Clochard is their family name) when i just arrived at the station:

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From the station in Saint Pierre des Corps, i went directly to my host family’s house in Saint Martin Le Beau, a small village (or commune in French) with the population 2800 people located just 30 minutes from the city Tours. Their house is amazing, all white on the outside, not so big, with lush of trees and bushes around, a garden in the backyard, a terrace, a kitchen, 3 bedrooms, a tv/living room and one special room in the basement with a little library, a computer, and an electric piano. Moreover, i also got my own room (yay!) just next to my host sister’s bedroom.

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My bedroom for the next 10 months. Pardon my happy face.

My bedroom for the next 10 months. Pardon my happy face.

Lunch on the terrace

Moving on to the members of my host family…

LEA — My host sister. She’s 2 years younger than me and she’s now in in troisieme or 9th grade. She loves anything about China, and plus she also speaks Chinese very well, well for me almost fluent, and this is why the subject our family conversation has never gone too far from talking about China. Her knowledge about this particular country has always surprised me, and plus she also has a big interest in learning languages and it turns out that she knows some Indonesian words too! It is always super interesting exchanging our knowledge about foreign languages. She helps me a lot when it comes to learning my French, sometimes she also tries to explain some words or expressions in English so that i could understand. Lea is also outgoing and she likes to point out her opinions on almost everything, so yes, she is a very nice person to hang out with. Last but not least, she has a beautiful voice too! Thank god i now have a karaoke partner hahaha but you can exclude me when she sings Chinese, because she’s super good and me… i don’t even understand a word, so yeah…

MARIE-CHRISTINE — My host mother. She is that kind of person who is very,very helpful. Every time i have some questions about the language, school, or anything, she would willingly explain me until i understand. She is a great cook too! She make almost all the food for the family and it all taste super delicious, my stomach is satisfied every single day :) And also since she works in the organic food
company, every food in this house is almost Bio-guaranteed, and now i even learn some lessons from her on how to improve my diet!

PASCAL — My host father. I probably spend most of my time with him every day since he always drives me to school, and so we always talk and share things together, and it turns out, surprisingly, we had a lot of things in common! We share almost the same taste in music (he likes Arcade Fire and Yuna) and also the same hobby which is to watch films. I always have a great time with him, exchanging different kinds of artists, watching and discussing about films, oh and one thing also, he takes beautiful pictures! We always end up conversing a lot about photography tips, electronic music, and the culture differences. He always asks me many interesting things so it is always exciting to talk with him, while at the same time, practicing my French :)

I sometimes cannot believe is it a coincidence or what, because i feel so grateful to be placed in such a warm, welcoming, fun and kind family. Until this past 2 months, they had taught me so many things, helped me with all kinds of problems and questions, as well as took me to lots of beautiful places. However, of course, there is no such thing as a perfect family. I also have encountered some arguments and not-so-good conditions in the family which kinda made me missing home sometimes. I do sometimes feel excluded as it is super hard for me to understand things and to actually join in a conversation, but i am sure that this is just a matter of time. It all takes time, and even me, i need time to adapt myself with this new family and environment.

I am beyond grateful to be a part of this family, and i could not even ask for a better one.

[am gonna close this blog post with proof of how cool my host dad's playlist is]

My host dad saved a video of Arctic Monkey's concert in Paris 2 months ago to watch together. (I know rite)

My host dad saved a video of Arctic Monkey’s concert in Paris 2 months ago to watch together. (I know rite)

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Salut France, Salut Mon Année d’Échange!

Bonjour à tous!

As you already know, I am now in France (never thought i would say this) experiencing my super duper exciting exchange year in a program called Youth For Understanding, and as a decent exchange student, i am now trying to keep a blog, writing everything that i encounter in this once-in-a-lifetime experience — HAHA no, kidding, i do actually want to write a blog as i consider this as an exercise in writing and in being productive, and also probably as my only outlet to express my opinions and feelings *curhat alert*. I am also going to divide it into some parts, because it has actually been almost a month since i arrived in France, and therefore, a lot of things and stories have happened (forgive me for i am the worst procrastinator). Well then, here we go, either you are here for the curiosity or just happen to stumble upon while not having anything to do, enjoy!

YFU France Arrival Orientation

On August 27, after almost 14 hours flight (Jakarta-Singapore-Paris) my plane landed safely in Charles de Gaulle Aéroport Paris at about 8 o’clock in the morning. With tired yet happy face i easily spotted a YFU volunteer with green t-shirt in front of the arrival gate. Veronique welcomed me with a big smile on her face and a warm hug. She was super nice and after i had a little chat with her i found out that i was the first person to arrive. Afterwards, a couple of Australian girls came and soon followed by 20 other kids. I was like WOW, the countries varied from Denmark to Latvia, and even from America to China, in total, there were about 63 kids from 23 different countries. I made some conversation with a couple of American kids, until we were asked to get on the Bus that would take us to the orientation location.

Welcomed by Veronique, the YFU volunteer.

Welcomed by Veronique, the YFU volunteer.

It takes 1 hour and a half to reach Institut Saint Eloi in Bapaume. For 3 days, i had an Arrival Orientation (L’Orientation d’Arrivée) with the other exchange students and the YFU volunteers. The volunteers gave us many many advice about the country France itself, how is French life, the school system, the rules, and even about how to behave as an exchange student. I stayed in a dorm, and i shared my room with 3 other girls, Katrina from Latvia, Anastasia from Germany, and Lotta from Finland. They are all super sweet and friendly, and i had a fun chat with them, talking randomly about our own countries and our feelings (oh girls) on our departure to France.

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A memorial made for an exchange student  who sadly couldn't make it to France.

A memorial made for an exchange student who sadly couldn’t make it to France.

This Arrival Orientation is probably the most memorable experience for me so far. I LOVE talking with other exchange students, asking and discovering about their countries (i don’t even know some of the locations until i start conversing with them), being asked about my home country, and most of all, talking with them have made me realize on how much we actually relate even though we come from different countries. Particularly for me, an Indonesian, who personally have realized on how much my country is still left behind, in terms of the infrastructures quality, and the quality of the people’s mindset, but we’ll get on with that later :)

On the last night of the orientation, we were all asked to perform on the talent show. At first, feeling ‘talentless’, i preferred to just stay as one of the audience, but i ended up performing The Cup Song + modern dancing with my group and it turns out super fun! The others’ performance are also very interesting and some are even funny and entertaining, ranging from cello playing to playing traditional games.

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With Alice from Thailand and Gabriella from Bulgaria.

With Alice from Thailand and Gabriella from Bulgaria.

Performing Cup Song + Modern Dance + Gymnastic with the group.

Performing Cup Song + Modern Dance + Gymnastic with the group.

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The long-awaited Saturday finally came, the day where we all will meet our host family. We said good bye, and in the same time wishing to see each other again (which we know is nearly impossible). The bus took me to the Montparnasse Train Station in Paris in which the train would take me to the town where i am going to spend a year in, and that is… Tours in the Region Centre.

With Anastasia on the Train to Tours.

With Anastasia on the Train to Tours.

That’s all for the first post, hoping i’m not making you bored to death since i still have plenty of more stories to come :)

robots do have a heart; robots do have a better love story

a 2010 short film titled ‘I’m Here’, written and directed by Spike Jonze. the male lead/robot is played by the new spidey, Andrew Garfield and his love interest, the female robot, is played by Sienna Guillory. it tells a story about Sheldon, a robot with CPU-shaped head who works as a librarian in Los Angeles, and Francesca, another robot whom he once saw in a car while he was waiting at the bus stop. When Francesca sees him for the second time, she offers him a ride, Sheldon starts to question about Francesca’s unusual thoughts, they begin to chat, laughing, and so their love story begins. (don’t trust this bad synopsis. the story actually has more intriguing moments and lots of adorable complications between the two of them. go watch it by yourself and experience the whole story.)

first of all, there’s andrew garfield in the film, and yes it is the main reason why i watch the film. sorry guys, i can’t stop loving his face. and his hair. and his accent. and pretty much everything about him.

i found myself teary while i was watching, which surprised me.

the story is very simple actually, and thank god it is a story about robots. robots are innocent and naive, unlike humans. robots make a decent love story, unlike the humans who tend to make it cheesy with their cliche caused-by-their-own-ego problems. plus the songs in this film are all performed by Sleigh Bells.

if you find yourself questioning: « Why don’t you just buy a new hand or find some help to repair yourself, Francesca? like srsly don’t you have some kind of robot-hospital or something?! Gosh. » at the end of the film, well me too. But then again, none of those heartbreaking love scenes or Sheldon’s heart-melting actions would happen if Francesca did not get into those stupid accidents. so yeah, overall this film tells a different, yet in a good way, love story.

ps: i would still marry you, Andrew, even if you’re a robot.

pps: don’t bother that first ps.

Citation

a hopefully decent first post

“Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true—that aren’t really how we feel—but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.”–Thirteen Reasons Why

a quote from a book that i recently read. somehow it represents things that are going through in my head. things that i do not understand but constantly manage to make me think.

maybe it’s because i am questioning and overthinking about too much (unnecessary) things. but i can’t help it. those things are actually very interesting yet also very stupid i must say. idk whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.

the things is, i’ve been saying ‘thing’ ‘and ‘too much’ too much right now. and thus it explains how bad my vocabulary is. and maybe now it’s the right time for me to shut up.

i hope this pointless ramble of mine will be decent enough to be called ‘the very first post of someone’s blog’.

or maybe certainly not.