It’s like being the popular kid back in high school.
Because last year I was the new girl (along with many others), there were many people I simply did not approach because I was downright intimidated. Everyone was part of a huge happy family and I was the outsider trying to get in. This time around, though, the return has been so much sweeter. I feel a sense of ownership over the place, and it’s much easier to glide through the crowd, smiling and making small-chat with people. It feels very nice.
I thought I had gone unnoticed last year, but I was wrong. The very first day I had some faculty members and fellow students come up to me with the biggest smile calling out my name, which was not visible, since I refuse to wear any and all indicators given to us (it’s my unconscious way of sticking it to the man) inquiring about Paris and all sorts of things about my life. I was taken aback, but then again, it’s the Middlebury family.
We’ve already met the group that will be going to Paris this coming fall. Some were familiar faces, others were newcomers.
I know I’m going to sound like a complete cunt but those smiles and eagerness will soon fade. I kind of feel bad for them, for some will lose their innocence (AND EGO, HOLY SHIT! THERE ARE SO MANY FUCKING EGOS CLASHING IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY. SITCHO ASS DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP. THE FRENCH WILL NOT BE IMPRESSED AND NEITHER ARE WE 😀 ) and see that maybe Paris was a little bit more rough than they thought it would be. I was in their shoes last year. I know how it works.
Nonetheless, however, I am still excited for them, because they will have the best year of their lives regardless.
Let us also raise a toast to my passive-aggressive ways!
Concerning academia, I have also observed that Paris corrupted me more than I anticipated. Being back in the American system of schooling, which I missed so much, I find that people are…well…slow.
In Paris we had no time to dilly-dally with questions such as “How do you spell this?” or “Is it double-spaced?” (see also: “Typed?”, “How long should it be?”, “Do you want a particular font?”). I walked out of a meeting under the false pretext that I had class. I just couldn’t bear to sit there and see people get their panties in a bunch over the small stuff. I hope I don’t let myself get worked up over these things, but the eye-rolling has begun, and it’s only the second day of class.
One thing has certainly not changed, however. “La table hispanique” (“The hispanic table”) is still in full force. While all other tables sit maybe 5 or 6 people at a time, we do magic and manage to fit 10. When the 11th person shows up, it’s always the same story: “Just take a chair and sit here”.
There’s plenty of love and space at our little corner…which is also the loudest. But hey!
Getting into the groove of French has not been difficult. As I am finally able to sit down and write something more or less cohesive, I find that French is slowly pushing into my thoughts and tempts my fingers to actually type in it. Oh, what a tease. When I needed you in Paris, you weren’t there! But now…I see what you’re doing.
Also, I find it incredibly rewarding to be speaking with students of lower levels because I can see them already making progress, and knowing that maybe I taught them a word or two in our conversations feels kind of nice. I look forward to the end of the semester, and see how much everyone, including myself, has improved.
Anyway, I have noticed that as a fully functioning, happy person, I am not as inspired nor as good at doing things like taking pictures and/or writing, but I am trying! Someone commented on this affliction being something characteristic of artists.
I guess I’m an artist.
PS: Did I mention there’s another Beatriz? Yes, with a “z” and everything. I’ve met her a couple of times. More on my one-sided friendly rivalry later!