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Il y a deux matins, j’ai soumis ma demande pour obtenir mon diplôme! Je flippe, un peu. Et maintenant?

Two mornings ago, I submitted my application for graduation. I’m flipping out a little. And now?

En fait, j’ai beaucoup des plans, donc… je ne suis pas stressée par “et maintenant”.

In fact, I have many plans, so… I’m not stressed about “and now”? I’m pretty excited, actually.

This morning, for my Spanish class composition, I wrote about my time at the University of Washington. (We’re allowed to make things up, but all through a year of Arabic, French, Spanish… I am incapable of writing anything that isn’t real and true!) This included a bit about my first foray into college many, many years ago. I had dropped out of high school (not for the reasons you’d think) and went to community college shortly after. It wasn’t a good time for me to be taking classes, though, and I was a terrible student. Or, as I said in my Spanish composition, “Quería solamente salir con mis amigos.” I only wanted to go out with friends (and drink, and travel, and party, and pretty much just go wild in this newfound “freedom.”) I did do well in the classes that  sparked a real interest and which were taught by a teacher that I genuinely liked – creative writing, literature and composition, languages, and art history. (I am still lugging around the 15lb book that was required text, stuffed with all my notes, exams, and essays for that first art history class twenty years ago.) I did really well in those classes, with almost no effort and, in fact, I recently wrote to the teacher with whom I took 4 writing courses back then to say hello. She said that not only did she remember me, but she still had some of my assignments saved. She was always very encouraging of my writing and hoped that I was still writing now. I said that I am not – and this poor little blog I’ve been dragging around for the last 13 years hardly counts.

I was put off of writing once, when an ex boyfriend told me that “all girls like to write.” I was miffed and indignant at his dismissive remark. (It felt cruel, like when I earnestly asked a neighbor about being a veterinarian, saying that I had wanted to be one when I was younger – the only thing he had to say was, “All kids wanted to be vets.”)  In hindsight, I wish I’d have retorted that all boys like to listen to Leonard Cohen, imagine themselves as Jack Kerouac, and fancy themselves smarter than they really are. Another ex boyfriend had thought I wasn’t very smart because I hadn’t passed through the educational system of the Eastern bloc and memorized the date of every important, historical moment of the entire world. I still don’t have many dates memorized, but I can tell you about all the neurotransmitters and their functions as well as rattle off all of the abbreviations for every element on the periodic table of elements. Like I said. All (most) boys think they’re smarter than they are. (Though to give my husband credit, he hates Leonard Cohen and has the air of perpetually being in awe of how smart I am. I guess that’s why I married him and others are ancient history! Moral of the story: hold on to those who see you and dismiss those that don’t.)

Back to what I was saying – several years ago, I decided to return to school and see what happens. I started out at community college again (Bellevue College) because I knew that I needed to prove I was serious this time around. The only prereq’s that I still needed were science and math, which was daunting. It took me two years, since I had a baby at home and then I had to put classes on hold when my father died. But I blew through Bellevue and all my prerequisites – Biology, Chemistry, algebra and pre-calc with a 4.0 GPA. I briefly chased after psych and neuro at UW but I hated the atmosphere. The classes were fine, I was on the good side of the curves, but the competition and huge, impersonal classes were not fun. I liked being in classes where I knew everyone’s name, where the teacher knew my name, where we went off the rails in conversations. (Actually, even when there were 300 kid in the class, teachers always knew my name. I ask a lot of questions.) I also realized that I probably could have earned myself a spot in the coveted neurobiology major but it would require more time and energy than I was willing to spend.

I was also really stuck on the the art history class that I had taken during my first quarter at UW. Sparks were flying in my head after that class – there is no denying, Humanities and Arts is where I belong.

And now here we are, I just filed my graduation application. Based on previous years’ graduates, I will definitely be graduating summa cum laude, perhaps magna cum laude. I’ve taken a year of Arabic, a year of French, and have started second year Spanish. That last sentence is really my favorite thing about the past few years. I’ve gone through innumerable ideas of what I want to do “when I grow up” but throughout my lifetime, I always, always come back to languages.

In the Summer, I’ll be continuing French at the Alliance Française and should, if all goes as planned, reach the C2 level by the end of Summer! (I am very, very excited about this). In the Fall, I’ll start an Editing certificate (as in writing & editing) and a Translation certification. I *just* applied to and was accepted to a Localization certification program at UW which begins in Winter. I was lukewarm about this at first, but the more I’ve looked at the program, the more excited I’ve become. People have asked me, repeatedly, over the last couple of years what exactly I want to “do”. My answer has always been that I don’t know specifically, I only know that I want to use languages, work from home, and travel. The end.

At some point in the next year I also plan on doing a few weeks of Spanish immersion in Spain, and a few weeks of immersion in France. (Not Paris, though, because there is so much more to France than Paris. Personally, I love the Basque region – French and Spanish.) It’s admittedly hard for me to stay focused on any one language for a long time because I absolutely love languages and I want to learn them all. I was doing really well with German for awhile, but I had realized that German was great for ideas about moving to Germany but otherwise wouldn’t serve me very well. (I still intend to learn more, though, because I enjoy it and I have very, very German heritage.) I would also really love to go back to Arabic so that I don’t forget all that I had learned. That would be sad.

In any case, I am forcing myself to stick very close to French and Spanish for the next year because I am *this close* to finally, officially, once and for all, being able to call myself bilingual. Err… trilingual, I guess. Achievement unlocked!

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