Little Study Abroad Things, Part V

I thought I’d be able to make one list for the entire summer, but it turns out I’m too much of a nerd, so:

  • I nearly told a friend she’d spelled a word wrong, but then realized I’d been thinking of the French spelling. My confession resulted in her saying, “omg Sarena. OMG YOU FRENCH NERD.”
  • I used my French notes on fairy tales to help me write angry feminist poetry and a gay fairy tale. I regret nothing.
  • While finally watching The Force Awakens, I heard a language that wasn’t English, and so my brain promptly assumed it was French. It was definitely not French.
  • I laughed so hard I cried when I saw a Tumblr post saying that someone named Gemma Pell must run into so much trouble trying to introduce herself in France.
  • One of the worst things I’ve seen is altered song titles like “Total Eclipse of Descartes,” “Don’t You (Foucault About Me),” “Bataille Will Always Love You,” “Rousseau Vain (You Probably Think This Song is About You),” and “Love Voltaire Us Apart.”
  • Out of sheer boredom, I took one of those weird Facebook quizzes, and it yielded disturbingly accurate results when it said, “Sarena loves French” and “Sarena can’t live without class.”
  • A friend and I went to Barnes & Noble, and I got a little distracted by the French maps and books in the International Travel section.
  • Listening to French music while trying to write poetry in English is a terrible idea. Trust me, don’t do it.
  • For some reason, as I was talking to two friends via Facebook chat, I switched to French and had to consciously return to English. Don’t ask me why. I’m still confused.
  • I got dragged to some Chinese dinner gathering, where some lady told me that her daughter spent 5 weeks in Rennes as part of a high school immersion program. Seconds later, she said to someone else, “French is useless but nice to listen to.” Look, if you’re going to claim that French is useless, at least have the audacity to say it to the French major’s face.
    • Later that night, I dreamed that I was at a fancy dinner and someone asked me, “Why aren’t you learning Spanish or Chinese?” In response, I angrily listed off all the reasons French is useful—in a single breath—and one of my friends, sitting at a neighboring table, laughed his butt off.
  • Things get really confusing when you’re listening to songs in English, but then your brain starts singing along in French.
  • When I got to Canada, I exclaimed to my brother, “There’s French on all the signs!” And then I proceeded to delightedly read all the ubiquitous bilingual signs and brochures. Honestly, if I could see bilingualism every day, I’d be happy as a bee—I basically had a nerd’s field day in Saint John.
  • I saw a license plate that had the letters DST on it, which was slightly traumatic. We don’t talk about those devoirs sur table I suffered through (but passed!) in Nice.
  • Offended that someone had taken the name Sarena on Pokémon Go, I cast about for a different name, and the first thing that popped into my head was ÉmilieduChatelet. But that was too long, and for whatever reason, someone had already taken Chatelet, so now I’m EmduChatelet. I’m pretty sure using a French-inspired username on a Pokémon game has just doubled my nerd.
  • Normal people during the summer: “I went out with friends!” Me: “Today I translated one of my short stories into French.”
  • “Hey look, they could be French nerds, too!” I exclaimed to my friend when she parked behind a car with a license plate that read BISOUS.
  • I stumbled across a bakery in a dream, and I was so excited because there were French desserts and the people who owned it were French, and now I’m sad because I want French bakery food.

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