Heyo, would you look at that? It's been awhile since my last entry.

Updates are in order: since my last post, I've graduated high school and been accepted with a counselor! My excitement is tentative, but man am I grateful to have a professional brain person to spew my brain stuff to. Spew is a touch too violent. Spill, maybe? Bit less gross. 

Anyhow, I truly am grateful for that. It was a difficult process to finally come to, but I'm super grateful because I've got some stuff that I really don't know how to handle on my own. I think it'll be really beneficial to get started working through that before and during the beginning of university. Thankfully, my uni is only about an hour from my home town, so I'd be able to drive back home for appointments or do phone consultations, which is nice. (Have I used the word 'really' enough yet?)

I've turned 18 as well! Weird. Legal adulthood. 

And, a week from today, I'll be in Montréal! June ended up being kind of travel-heavy, as I'll be away from home for 18 of its 30 days. That's a huge blessing! I'm so excited to have the opportunity to volunteer in Québec and to get to know such an awesome, multi-cultural place. 

Things are mostly good. Trying to prepare myself for counseling/therapy/whatever the heck you should call it. Enjoying the sunshine and the pretty plants!
 Therapist #2 isn't accepting new patients. 

The search continues!
I just went through the list of therapists accepted by my insurance (for the second time; the first list was the one I went through right before we changed insurance providers).

I might have found a therapist! She meets all of my mama's requirements (as well as my own) and I have a good feeling about her. And her practice is within 10 or 15 minutes of my house (really close to school, even though I'm graduating in less than a month, eep). I'm so glad about that. 

It's a start. A positive one. I'm so grateful. 

And as a post script, I have been treating my body pretty well these last two weeks. Two weeks does not a lifestyle change make, but still--it's more progress than I've made in a long time. I'm proud (though quietly, as it's not something I really want to discuss with people in person just yet). 
I'd like to make a change for my physical and mental health so that I can live my life more productively and happily. I need to take care of my body and my brain so that my heart and soul can be happy. :)

Just writing that down today so that I can be reminded and encouraged that it's for the better. Since the appointment with Therapist #1 fell through (darn insurance!), I need to take the initiative to get help from a new person. I need to take initiative, period. I want to give myself my best chance. 

Happy Easter! <3 I hope that this weekend has been restful for you, and that the sun will shine upon you, wherever you may be. 

EDIT: Oh, and an update from my last post!! I just needed to cry it out for a few days, and pray, and be with other people. Doing better and taking steps to rectify that situation and that hurt as best I can. Healing!

Today

Apr. 12th, 2017 11:22 pm
 My soul is unquiet today. 
I'm currently reading When in French by Lauren Collins, and I'm really enjoying it. It's a bit of history, a bit of memoir, and a lot of discussion of language acquisition--so it's fantastic. 

I just thought that I'd include some statistics in the most recent chapter of this book: 
  • "Only 18 percent of American schoolchildren are enrolled in foreign language courses, while 94 percent of European high-school students are studying English."
  • "In 1906 Congress passed a law precluding citizenship for any alien 'who can not speak the English language.' (According to the 1910 census, this amounted to 23 percent of the foreign-born population."
In WWI, these pledges were circulated to schoolchildren: 
 
"I love the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 
I love my country's LANGUAGE.
I PROMISE: 
1. That I will not dishonor my country's speech by leaving off the last syllables of words:
2. That I will say a good American 'yes' and 'no' in place of an Indian grunt 'un-hum' and 'nup-um' or a foreign 'ya' or 'yeh' or 'nope.':
3. That I will do my best to improve American speech by avoiding loud harsh tones, by enunciating distinctly and speaking pleasantly, clearly, and sincerely:
4. That I will try to make my country's language beautiful for the many boys and girls of foreign nations who will come to live here:
5. That I will learn to articulate correctly one word a day for a year." 

Collins succinctly summarized the state of language acquisition in the U.S.: "While learning a foreign language is considered prestigious, acquiring one naturally is stigmatized. We think of foreign languages as extremely hard to learn, but we're incensed when immigrants don't speak English perfectly." 

Lately, language acquisition is on my mind (especially as I continue to volunteer in a community ESL program). It is frustrating that the same antiquated ideas are still circulating in the minds of many Americans, and that we are only just beginning to realize the toxicity of forced monolingualism. 


I haven't written here in awhile, so I thought it might be nice to kind of chronicle what I've been up to of late! I'm not really sure what I'm using dreamwidth for, but I enjoy the chance to write every now and again. 

I'm having a really busy season in my life at the moment. I still have two essays to write for uni admissions/scholarships (yikes), as well as exams beginning this week and Christmas presents to finish making and/or buying, and wrapping. I had auditions for a stage production of Mary Poppins this week, and I ended up being cast as the antagonist. I've never played an antagonist before, so I'm really looking forward to it! 

My French still seems to be improving, which is pretty nice, actually. I have days where it seems hopeless that I'll ever reach the proficiency I'm after, but lately I've seen myself doing better, and I'm proud. I still have a long way to go, but I am really glad to see the work that I've been putting in over these last four years pay off. And I look ever more forward to going to Québec this summer; I think it'll be a really positive thing in my spiritual life and for my French. 

Speaking of Canada--I received the sweetest package in the mail this week! Dearest yuuago smuggled me some contraband Kinder Eggs (contraband only insomuch as I'm here in the U.S.), as well as a wonderfully sweet card and some delightful tea. It was so lovely to get to have my first proper Kinder Eggs, and the excitement of waiting for the package made it an all the more wonderful experience. I'm so blessed to have you in my life, yuu! Thank you so so much! 

I'm so grateful for my friendships (both on- and offline), and for the incredible people who I'm proud to know. You all are truly a remarkable group of people, and you have made my life all the richer. I can hardly believe that this month will mark my one-year anniversary of going onto IRC chat! I have made some really great friends there, and I look forward to many more years of friendship to come. 

Oh, and I suppose I can list some of the media that I've been consuming of late: 
  • Gilmore Girls, and voraciously, too. My best friend has been a fan of the show for a long time, and I finally decided to start watching it around Thanksgiving. It is truly delightful, and witty, and just hits the spot in terms of evoking emotion but not so much that it's draining. I've been making Christmas presents while watching it this weekend, and it's been just delightful.
  • I've finished Hamlet (which I definitely gushed about on my Twitter account, ehehehe) and am now reading Macbeth! It's so interesting, and so very different from Hamlet, and I'm loving the different meters that I didn't get to see as much in Hamlet. The witches are pretty intriguing, and I'm curious to see whether or not they're trustworthy. The quality of the decision-making is astounding (in a bad way), but dang, that Shakespeare sure knows how to make an interesting story. 
  • Just today I watched the movie The Man Who Knew Infinity. Wow, was that an incredible movie. It tells the story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his work in the field of mathematics, as well as his journey to pre-WWI England in an attempt to publish his work. The quality of the cinematography was incredible, and it made me regret not having gone to the movies in awhile. I guess I'd forgotten just how crisp and beautiful cameras can shoot films these days! The acting was also lovely, and the story was very interesting for a student currently in Calculus (we actually watched it at my Calculus teacher's house). I'm pretty rubbish at calculus, but it's the kind of film about mathematics that one can appreciate without any prior knowledge. 
Anyhow, it's now 7:00 PM on a Sunday night, so I should probably go and see what homework I need to do to be ready for the week. I look forward to checking back in here later. And Christmas break is soon! And it's cold! But I have a nice scarf to wear that's really big so it's all alright! 

Cheers. <3 


Last night and well into today, I have been thinking about (can you believe it?) the American presidential election. 

I missed the age cut off for voting in this election by a few months. Before the votes were actually being counted, I'd been quite glad about that, telling myself, "At least I don't have to take responsibility for this garbage fire of an election." But oh, how last night I wished that I could've voted--could've done something to make a difference. 

I am a white person. I am a middle-class person. I was born in the States and English is my first language, and so has it been with the rest of my family for well over the past century. I follow a religion that is very well known and not oft persecuted in America. I have operated under an educational system that rewards me for understanding it. I will be going to university next fall, and I will not be going into debt to do so. 

The list of my privilege goes on and on. But so many are not in my circumstances. So many have so very much to fear by these election results. 

A year ago today was the first time that I ever sat in on and volunteered at an ESL (English as a Second Language) class. In this past year, I've been able to learn so much about how little I actually know, about the incredible amounts of privilege with which I've been born, and understanding how I can move beyond that to empathetically understand the experiences of others. One of my students, who I've known since the beginning and have seen grow so much in her English, recently had her case at immigration rejected and was forced to move back to Venezuela. Her fiancé (who had been living here for a long time) is going back with her, even though it's the last thing that they wanted, because they can't afford to apply for a visa again in Venezuela (as the government instructed her to do).

It broke my heart to see her forced to leave. She'd started her life here as a student, and committed herself to working so hard to improve her English. She is smart and kind and creative and loving, but now she's got to go.

And that's just the story of one person trying to approach immigration through the system--she did everything right, and yet still she was rejected. What about the millions of undocumented immigrants who do not have a path to citizenship and face the fear of deportation every day? What about those who have been trying to immigrate for years but cannot? What about those who are citizens and who have immigrated, but fear losing their families to deportation? 

And what of those who have faced and will continue to face racism every day? These protests of late are not without reason--we have so much growing to do in the area of understanding the experiences of others, and of realizing that being color blind does not mean ignoring racial issues. We have so much work to do in the pursuit of racial equality.

Then there's the LGBTQ community--both those who are loud and proud but are now in fear for their futures and rights, and those who may never come out for fear of the repercussions. What a painful time it is for them, and for so many. 

We have so much good left to do. It is my sincerest hope that this president proves us wrong--that he grows and learns from this election, and is able to lead well. I am not optimistic, but oh how I am praying. 

Today I cry for America. I cry for those unnecessarily living in fear by virtue of their existence. I cry for those who are blinded by hatred and think that it is the solution to their problems. I cry for those who will not endeavor to understand the political opinions of others (as I am trying to do...it is hard). I cry for the brokenness of the States, that we thought that this would be the solution to this schism in our nation.

I believe in hoping for the better, and in finding the silver lining, and in praying when it seems hopeless. And I shall do all of those things in time. But for now, I mourn. 
 Lately, I have been working on admissions loveliness--loveliness being used in the loosest sense, of course. 

I think I'll probably just be applying to three universities (all in-state, but in three different cities, none of which being my hometown). I've lived in the same town since I was born. I've lived in the same house. I've gone to the same school since kindergarten. Nothing against my hometown, but I'm ready for a change. 

I briefly mentioned the possibility of going to uni in Canada (specifically in Québec, most likely) because of the lower tuition, but my father shut down the idea pretty quickly (despite Mother's support). He thinks it'd be a waste of money to have to spend so much to come back to the States whenever I'd need/want to. I guess I can see why. 

I'd really like to get into this one university in Nashville; it has a really lovely campus, and the language department staff seem like lovely folks. I have to get a full-tuition scholarship if I want to go there, though, and it seems so daunting. I have been told that I can get it by many people who I love and trust, but honestly I am stressed about it. 

Ah, well. I guess I have the blathering tag for a reason. I'd better use it for this post! Aaaaaaand, I'm procrastinating doing my other schoolwork. I'm afraid that I must away for now. 

Thankfully, by November 1, much of this stress will be over. Or at least, the urgency of the stress should pass. 

Sleepy

Sep. 22nd, 2016 09:56 pm
 Things are good. I stayed up late painting. I drank too much caffeine. I'm too sleepy. I've still work to do. 

A good day. A good night. A good week. 
Are we ready for my first bilingual Dreamwidth post? I'm so excited! Herein lies the account of the few hours and classes that I spent with a French student my age, provided in both French and English. I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to look back upon this post and smile, as I'm smiling now. 

La Nuit Précédente / The Night Before
Demain, je pourrai parler pour le premiere temps avec une personne française qui a le même age que moi! Il visiterai notre école pour des heures, parlerai avec ma classe de français (et nous sommes cinq filles, ehehe), et il suivrai des élèves à leurs cours. Il ne parle aucun anglais, et c'est son première visite aux États-Unis, alors je suis enthousiaste et nerveuse que je pourrai parler avec lui. 

C'est possible que je vais pouvoir faire des traductions simples (je n'ai jamais fait ça!) si quelqu'un qui ne parle pas français voudra chatter avec lui. J'espère que je pourrai lui comprendre en écoutant. :') Je pense qu'il pourra me comprendre (tant que je peux souvenir des mots correctes).  

Tomorrow, I will get to speak for the first time with a French person my age! He will visit our school for a few hours, speak with my French class (which is myself and four other girls, ehehe), and follow some of us to class. He doesn't speak any English, and this is his first time to visit the United States, so I'm excited and nervous to get to speak with him. 

I also might get to do some basic translation (which I've never done before either) if anybody who doesn't speak French wants to chat with him. I'm just hoping that my listening comprehension abilities allow me to keep up with him. :') I think that he'll be able to understand me (so long as I can think of the right words). 
 
 

Après Tout / After Everything
Maxime (l'élève française) et moi avons passé une bonne journée ensemble! Je n'étais pas avec lui toute la journée--seulement pour deux classes. Pour les autres heures de cours, il a parlé avec les autres classes de français (des autres niveaux). Quand c'était juste Maxime et moi (sans les traductions de mon prof), nous avons eu des difficultés avec quelques-mots (spécialement moi). Mais si je ne pouvais pas m'expliquer, il disais, "C'est pas grave." Et avec cette phrase, j'avais la confiance de parler plus et plus. On a mangé le déjeuner ensemble (et avec des autres élèves dans mon école qui étudient le français) et il est allé avec moi pour mon classe de calcul (cette classe s'appelle "AP Calculus BC" en anglais, mais je suis pas certaine comment on l'appelle en français). Il a compris plus que moi. ::) 

Aussi, dans ma classe mathématique, je lui ai demandé comment on prononce "grenouille," et je lui enseigne le mot "squirrel" en anglais. C'était très marrant d'entendre comment il a prononcé mon nom (parce que c'est difficile de prononcer avec un accent français) et aussi "squirrel." 

Dans l'ensemble, c'était vraiment fun et éprouvant, mais il valais l'effort, et on a ri beaucoup. 

Maxime (the French student) and I had a good day together! I wasn't with him all day long--only for two classes. For the other classes, he spoke with the other French classes (some other levels). When it was just Maxime and I (without my French teacher to translate), we had difficulties with some words (especially me). But if I couldn't explain myself, he said, "It's not serious." And with that phrase, I had the confidence to speak more and more. We ate lunch together (and with some other students in my school who are studying French) and he went with me for my Calculus class (this class is called "AP Calculus BC" in English, but I'm not sure what you call it in French). He understood more than I did. 
::) 

Also, in my math class, I asked him how to pronounce "grenouille," and I taught him the word "squirrel" in English. It was very funny to hear how he pronounced my name (because my name is difficult to pronounce with a French accent) and also "squirrel." 

All in all, it was really fun and challenging, but it was worth the effort, and we laughed a lot. 
 

Well, I'm pretty chuffed with this first post, and oh my glory, how spending my day being forced to speak in French was such a delight. I had some troubles explaining things like "there's a leak in the ceiling that's damaging the wooden floors" (I came up with something like "the water comes from high and...that is of wood" XD).  I'm sure that my diction in both English and French here sounds pretty juvenile, but it is my hope that as I become more comfortable with French, my translations will become more fluid as well. I had loads of fun, and I so look forward to continuing to pursue French and fall more and more in love with this language. 
My thoughts on this topic are complex and bizarre, so please don't mind any scattered sentences. If you were speaking with me in person or on Skype, you would be assured that I come by the scatterbrain naturally. And please don't think that I'm trying to sound conceited...I just. I don't know. I struggle sometimes to say my words even in English and not feel guilty for them. Blegh. I don't know.

So throughout my past three years (I've just started the fourth) of studying French, I've undergone a kind of metamorphosis of my views about my place in the Francophone world. At first, I knew that I knew nothing, and was just picking up numbers, colors, and simple verbs, so it was really low pressure. I was totally at peace with my ignorance and was just picking up the basics. At this point, I was pretty much on the same level as everyone else in my French class, but I was happy to be learning how to pronounce words and read aloud in French.

At some point in my second year, another student (not in my year) told me that she'd heard that I was good at French. I remember being surprised by her words and quickly denying them. I was only a second year, after all, and still very new to the language.

During my third year, I began to realize that I enjoyed French more than some of my classmates and that some aspects of it seemed to come more easily to me (pronunciation, and I guess just a desire to participate in class and learn more). But soon, it started to feel kind of like a pressure for me? I was in this weird limbo of being considered good at French by my peers but not feeling super great at it myself. Like, sure, I could do some assignments more easily, and I enjoyed doing them and trying to speak, but as far as my listening comprehension with actual French people, I was so lost.

In the end of second year and throughout third year to the present day, I began to have some thoughts in French. Small ones, and usually not incredibly complex, but they began to happen with increasing frequency (that is to say, maybe 2% of the time as opposed to 0% of the time XD). At first, I was really excited that this was happening and I wanted to share it with everyone. But soon, I realized that it seemed disingenuous of me. I started to feel guilty for sharing when this was happening--like I was bragging about it? Like, "Oh, look at me, I'm so cultured and clearly above everyone." I don't...I don't think that I feel that way (certainly not as much as I used to; I was an insufferable 12 year old, let me tell you). But I still feel guilty about talking about it, even though I *want* to talk about it.

I think more guilt came along with my entry into the world of English as a Second Language classes; I volunteer with a local beginners class for adults, and they're all so much better in English than I am in French. It makes me feel guilty for not having previously understood their struggles in learning English, and I'm so so so incredibly proud of them. But I can't help but feel...out of place with them sometimes? I'm at such an advantage when speaking with them in English (native speaker who has been surrounded by English since birth and been blessed with an education and with a family who encouraged reading and doing well in school).

That's pretty much where I still am: in some weird limbo between beginner and novice, I guess? I know that it's going to take me several more years to reach the level of French that I would like, and I am pretty seriously planning to study it in university (as in, major in it, y'know, that fun stuff). So, this doesn't discourage me from wanting to continue, but it also makes me feel guilty for learning more sometimes?

I guess I've felt that way in English for a long time too. It has felt kind of isolating to enjoy academics in the way that I do, and to happen to have read more as a child and picked up a somewhat broader vocabulary, and have a desire to use it and then, however well-intentioned they may have been, feel isolated by a lot of my peers for it.

I really love and appreciate the people who accept me and my thoughts in whichever words that they happen to come out in, but sometimes I feel so weirdly guilty for enjoying language learning. I guess this might be the product of growing up in a monolingual household, in a monolingual culture? Honestly, your guess is probably as good as mine.
Hi there, and also greetings, and maybe hello? Maybe.

I'm not quite sure how often I'll be using Dreamwidth, but here I am! I'm mostly here because I believe that some internet friends (mainly yuuago ^^) I know from other mediums are active here as well. Journaling might be nice, and most certainly won't hurt my writing skills, as I'm almost certain that there is an inversely proportional relationship between the amount of time that I spend on IRC chat and the quality of my spelling, grammar, and punctuation. XD

I am on the cusp of legal adulthood and trying to get this whole university thing figured out. I enjoy the French language, as well as chocolate ice cream and my sister's cats.

If I write here, it will likely be about my escapades in university admissions, blathering about webcomics, my enjoyment of nice color schemes and pleasing symmetry, and perhaps my general uncertainty about personhood. I'm a somewhat emotional person, and there are lots of things which I think about bringing up elsewhere but decide against, so perhaps those can live here. Mainly thoughts about my brain and mental health and all that rot (it's the internet; you know the drill).

Priorities are interesting things that I'm trying to figure out at the moment. For now, laughing with friends is enough.

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