To summarize events since my last visit here: I spent a year scraping by in the US trying to save up enough money to go to grad school here in France. I worked for Greenpeace (lovely people and a good way to come out of one's shell, but I honestly don't have enough of a "salesman" personality to make that sort of thing a viable option), though I am keeping the non-profit door open for the future. Then I got a job taking care of an invalid woman's dogs. To be completely frank, this lady was batshit crazy; I will remark though that she presents a good lesson in the need for mental activity. It was clear to me that she was very intelligent, but being bedridden, she felt the need to create drama where there was none. Anyway, to make a long story short, I am glad that's over! I then worked for a childcare company, which was actually not all that bad- mainly because I was with some great people and not left alone with the barbarian horde. I taught French to young American children, and finally found employment at a doggy darcare surrounded by a group of some of the coolest hounds I've known. Despite the times that I found myself a bit bored, I really enjoyed working with these animals. Their joie de vivre really puts the kibosh on all our human cynicism and being surrounded by 50 dogs is definitely a unique experience.
After all that, I had to take a horribly stressful trip to LA to get my French visa. Before leaving, I had this sens of dread and foreboding, which turned out to be well-founded. I left Denver, taking the bus to the airport (since I had no car) and arrived in LA safe and sound. I went to the rental car place, stood in line forfriggin (hail to the infix) ever and then went to check into the hotel. Realizing that all that had taken much longer than planned and wanting to take advantage of the two short days I would spend in this city, I found the closest beach- a beach I shall call The Beach of Disappointment and watched the trash wash up along the shore. Trying to ignore how awful and destructive humanity is, I watched the sunset and then headed off to pick up a friend from the airport since he too had to make the self-same visa trek and we decided to split the costs.
The next day, we got up early to head to the French consulate. My friend had just about as much bad luck as I did and didn't get his documents in the mail in time, so decided, plane tickets being expensive to change, to head out to Cali and enjoy the sun anyway. My visa appointment was a total disaster! My visa was refused because they would neither accept my letter of acceptance from the school nor the fact that I would be working to support myself in France during my stay. I was, needless to stay, devestated after all the hard work and sacrifice I had made to finally further my education. But life goes on and so must we, so my friend and I headed out to Santa Monica to have lunch with a friend I hadn't seen since my days palling around with musical folk at the recording studio in Weed. Though slightly awkward, it was quite nice to see her again and talk to some positive people after my recent disappointment. We then parted ways and my friend and I went of to the beach for a short swim before going back to the airport. The sea is a great place to drown your sorrows and I tried to let the waves sweep them away. I so love the sea and there is something so cleansing about swimming in that salty water. Unfortunately, since we had already checked out of the hotel, I had no way to wash so I just hopped on the plane salt-clad (which honestly wasn't that bad) and homeward bound.
Luckily, this story does not end here. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from CampusFrance inquiring how things were going and I recounting my tale of woes. There are some very dedicated people working there who contacted the French Embassy to very politely rip them a new one, which means that they accepted their error about my letter of acceptance. I still had to prove that I had enough income BEFORE leaving the US to pay for my stay in France. I got around this by withdrawing $2000 from my account and depositing it into my dad's and having him produce a letter saying that he would be sending my money each month (I come from a very poor family, so no one had enough money to do this in the first place). I had to spend a fortune to change my original plane ticket, but I eventually arrived in France- I got here rather broke, but it's all good since I have become quite good at living on nothing and a dash of dreams.
So there you have it. A brief summary of my year back in the US. Much time was spent with my wonderful family and it's been hard being separated from them, but I needed to give an eye for knowledge so here we are.