One of my good friends from Tournon made me two CDs back in September. The idea was to introduce me to some of the songs that every French teenager knows by heart and can sing along to at any given moment. We listened to them, track by track, with a group of my friends. They sang their hearts out while I listened to them for the first time. They said to me, "by the end of the year, you'll be singing with us". I understood only about half the lyrics and merely laughed at the thought.
Last night, I popped one of those CDs into the car's disk drive. With the windows down, and surrounded by a new group of friends, in a different part of France, we belted every song in unison.
I have a lot of favorite parts of my exchange year. Many reasons why I love this experience. Many reasons why it's made me love myself. But recently, the most prominent reason, is the progress I've made in French. Yes, I knew a proficient amount back in September. But being immersed in French all day, every day, for eight months (and counting) teaches you a level that can't be attained in a classroom. I use expressions, slang and curse in French by reflex. I am bilingual, and it feels great.
Oh, in case you were wondering where we were going last night, we spent a night out on the town in Besancon, after a very French meal at McDonalds: