When Two Worlds Cross

Annika M. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Hanover High School in New Hampshire.

Over the holiday break, I had the good fortune of bringing my two families together, my American family, and my French family. Seeing my American family after so long was a shock, I had built up in my head what my reunion with them would be like; I would see them, run into their arms, and everyone would be crying. In reality, my host dad dropped me off in the center of Rennes and I just waited until my mom opened the door to their VRBO. But it was so great to see my parents again after so long and to have conversations with adults that I fully understood and that I could really contribute to. My French is definitely coming along but it’s nice every once in a while to not feel like a foreigner. 

After catching up for a while and touring around Rennes a bit, I took my parents to my host house to meet my host family. On the car ride over to see my host family, I became suddenly, nervous: nervous because I hadn’t seen my parents in four months in a time where I had changed so much, nervous because I was wondering if my real parents and host parents would like each other, or even understand each other.

 

Soon after arriving at my house, I realized that there was nothing to be nervous about. Both my families were delighted to meet each other, and my host family even pulled out the raclette maker, a sign of a warm welcome in my French household. We spent almost three hours sitting and talking. We talked about American politics, French grèves, and of course me and my integration into speaking French and the French society. All this talking was done in a muddle of French and English. My host father and brother, who are very competent in English carried us through the conversation, and my American father used his high school French knowledge to try and explain certain concepts. I also helped to translate between my host mother, who understands but doesn’t speak English, and my American mother, who took one French class in the second grade. This was definitely good language practice! 

This dinner with both my families was fantastic and allowed my host family and my real family to see insights into the other half of my life that each respective side hasn’t seen. And whats more, I was able to realize that my two families aren’t all that different; my host mother and real mother are both so caring, bright, and joyful, and my host dad and real dad are both a little reserved, dedicated, and also love basketball. I’m so thankful I had this time two bring my two families together, and I will definitely never forget it! 

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Annika compares her new normal to her life in Rennes in her last blog.

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Luke recalls a recent memory that encapsulates the lessons he learned from SYA.