I don't know if it's already been or only been 14 days since arriving to France but either way but it has been quite the full 2 weeks. Classes officially begin this week but fortunately, all the classes that interested me all fit into 3 school days. I think I'll be spending the other 4 days studying other things that fascinate me, being tourist-y, or find a part time job. Who knows, but I only have one year to get the most out of my study abroad experience so I'm planning to do whatever fascinates me.
The past two weeks have been quite overwhelming to be honest. I'm feeling homesick already for both the US and Japan but knowing that I survived something like this when I decided to go to a university in Japan instead of the staying in the States 2 years ago helps me keep positive about what's to come. I'm pretty good at blending into the locals from the start but it definitely takes time for me to gain confidence in each area that I go to. I've been really lucky to meet another Japanese girl from Keio University also studying at my university; Conversations between exchange students have generally been in French, instead of English, so it's nice to be able to take a break and speak something I'm comfortable with. I'm a little surprised to not have met any Americans but maybe that's to come in the future.
I've gotten into Yoga in the last two weeks and it's been helping me keep calm and forget about the outside world for just a little bit of time. I love how time moves slower when I'm doing yoga. Having a background in gymnastics and tennis, I've always been into cardio that leaves me breathless and drenched in sweat - my preference has been shifting a bit and I'm loving this rather opposite type of exercise. Exercise for the mind, body, and heart has been doing me well. My favorites are Yoga with Adriene andTone it Up.
I feel like this post has been sounding a bit negative but of course, my experience so far has also been an extreme boost in my motivation. The biggest motivation has to be that everyone around me has extremely high goals for themselves. I'm in the law department so there are many future lawyers and diplomats - hearing all this helped to put me at ease (if that makes sense) in knowing that I can do this too and that I can continue raising the bar for myself.
The second motivation has to be the number of languages that my fellow exchange students can speak. I'm actually a minority for only speaking three (maybe more like 2.5 at the moment). I feel like people are finally normal if you speak 4 but so many people speak 5 or even 6. It was a very "European" discovery for me - many people are mixed-blood within Europe and were raised in a quatrolingual environment. It's really quite fascinating. I started Spanish last semester and if I get it down, it'll be easier to grasp Portuguese and Italian...maybe it's better for me to study Chinese or Korean as an Asian citizen but I'll be working on whatever language interests me at the moment.
Lastly, food. Yes, it counts as motivation. Anything baked, like bread (omg the sandwiches) and cakes are seriously the greatest things in the world. I've been starting to crave rice (haha the Japanese in me), or more specifically Family Mart Tuna-Mayo Onigiri but I found a super delicious rice salad at a local super market. It's a mix of tuna and vegetables, like corn and tomatoes, all covered in a vinegar-based dressing. It's nothing like I've seen before in Japan but it's extremely fulfilling for my tummy and soul.