ah oui, bienvenue!


C’est moi, Jana Robina!


Ah, bonjour tout le monde! This isn’t the enthralling post-opening line I was aiming for or should have gone with, but I am stumped so it is what it is. If you’re anything like an English major just prepare yourself; you will cringe often (sorry, but not really). This will most likely be like a conversation since I’m not used to free writing for the ‘masses’ and as


Aéroport de Londres Heathrow


you may have noticed this post is a couple weeks overdue (since I landed in Nice, France on Jeudi, 9 Janvier, 2015). I’ll get better at it. Before I left, I was not sure if I was fully ready to spread my wings this time, but it is happening regardless. I have been dreaming about it for too long to not follow through with it. International twice in a year’s span has me feeling like a frequent flyer. Long flights don’t feel as long. After enduring a nearly 16 hour flight to the Motherland, these 11 hours should be nothing — up, up, and away to 37,000ft for 7 hours + 2 hours in Aéroport de Londres Heathrow + another 2 hours at 37,000ft above sea level before landing in Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur. I break down the length into segments of familiar and pleasing things. Oh but wait, before take off and turning ‘off’ of electronics, let me say my farewells. The sound of goodbye is unsettling, so “I’d rather we go with ‘au revoir’.” 



Segment 1: Moments of Prayer & Meditation. With the way my mind roams, a 30 second “May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we’re absent one from the other…” prayer turns into about 4 additional minutes of unrelated mental notes. Those include me babbling to God about about what I may have forgotten at home or how I probably should have packed less so I would have more of an excuse to shop or “dang, I should have carried my mini bear with my last name and favorite number on it” or even me asking God how I did not remember to eat. That lemon cake from Starbucks was far too expensive to be that dry and not-filling. I am not looking forward to this airplane food but let’s not dwell on that miss. You know what the worst and best thing about a plane ride is? Once you are on and it takes off, there is no turning back. So any second doubts I had about making this 122 day move to France are left behind and I am now being propelled forward at hundreds of miles per hour. Take off. Let’s see. | 

Segment 2: I have 3 hours and 47 minutes of The Lonny Breaux CollectionIt has been a while since I have listened to the whole mixtape. So, what better time?
No, I will not delete this to make space for ‘other’ things.


With the exception of a few songs on the mixtape and me falling into slumbers or dazes from the tranquil sound of some tracks, most of them are a must-listen-to. Each song and my thoughts on them could be an entirely different blog post. By the way, Monsieur Frank Ocean, if you happen to find yourself reading this part of my post, I have been waiting for a new album. I am tired of the questions from the non-believers. I should also admit that the mixtape has been able to keep me satisfied and hopeful of better days to come in terms of your music realm. | 

Segment 3: Kudos to British Airways for their viewing selections. Oh and their meals. Meal 1 was not as distasteful as I thought it would be. I enjoyed it, it was a little too odd to describe, but I enjoyed it. Anyways, unfortunately my span of interest for shows and movies is short lived and quite particular. It is hard to explain the types of selections that mesmerize me. But I figured I should narrow my search down by looking into the French selections which works out well because I can say that I like trying foreign films. What better occasion than now to watch a French film? The subtitles are a bit off point and I can confidently say that because I can understand some of them (what a good feeling) and they do not match what is being said in the film. Despite that minor accomplishment, I still planned on being as mute as possible when I arrived to my host family’s house because my French is nowhere near polished. If anything, it needs to be finely chiseled. | 

Segment 4: Pensive Moments. Serious business here. This segment was spent in deep thought about all the applications I need to turn in and how I couldashoulda done them instead of thinking about doing them. Although the thoughts of how life would be ready to attack me once I returned from abroad crept in my mind in the form of what I would like to say in the application questions, cover letters, and so forth ate at me, they were short lived. I won’t even spend anymore time discussing that because it makes me a bit flustered that my time to be what I call a ‘real world class citizen’ is quickly drawing nigh. | 

Segment 5: Dozes & Dazes. This is comprised of my dazes which turn into dozes that breed daydreams about anything. I am trying to think of an example of one of my daydreams but they either come and go quickly or they come and linger but don’t seem like much. By the way, I forgot to mention four details about my plane ride: un]. There is thing called an ‘aisle’ that separated me from the very attractive German guy to my left. deux]. I noticed the eyes of the girl who had the privilege of sitting next to him light up as she walked up to her seat and realized she would be sitting next to him. Mid-chew of her Chipotle burrito (no judgment there for bringing it on the plane, she proceeded to ask him to hold her burrito while she made her way in. trois]. There was a middle-aged man behind me who was tapping the touch screen on the back of my seat with great force every time he was making a selection. I almost lost it but then I thought, “My dad taps his perfectly-okay-touch-screen-phone rather hard too so let me go easy on the man.” quatre]. To my right was an empty seat and then a girl about my age who opened a letter right before takeoff and started bawling her eyes out. It’s not my place to call whether it was a breakup letter or a love one but… It was a bit much. Maybe because it takes for certain things to hit me. For example, even up until I got to Nice, it hadn’t hit me that this would be my “home” for the next four months or so. I anticipate a bawling day but not just yet. I am so loved and I will miss how easily accessible many of my family members and friends were. This year in particular has been such an amazing year filled with all that love. My heart warms up just thinking about it. | Oh funny, that folks is a prime example of what some of my daydreams consist of. That is one of my brighter examples. 
Before my departure, there were some that consisted of mini flashes of scenes from the movies “Taken” and “The Color of Friendship”. We won’t even talk about “Taken” and the horrors that said movie exposes because, “Who would be my Liam Neeson?” That last sentence should have said, “the Lord is covering me and I will make smart decisions.”


“Kim” in Taken

Piper Dellums (host sister) in The Color of Friendship
As for the Disney Channel movie: the assumption that the Dellums family had about the exchange student being black because they were coming from South Africa and the expectation that the white girl from South Africa had of being hosted in Washington D.C. by a white Congressman’s family kept replaying in my mind. One of the funniest parts is when the family intends to welcome the South African girl, Mahree, by playing the African drums as she walks into the house but to their surprise… From that moment on it went downhill before it got better. Those were among my gloomy daydreams. 

But thank God that my famille d’accueil (host family) welcomed me warmly.  The host family is such an integral part to my stay here in Nice, France because they are another reminder to me that I am not completely “alone”. 


Rocco (13ans) est mom frère d’accueil.
Pauline (10ans) est ma sœur d’accueil.
I found a draft in my old AOL email account from August 23rd, 2011 with a letter that I was sending to different organizations and schools asking them about their study abroad programs. This experience is a ‘postcard’ dream come true.


overlooking Nice Cote D’Azur
It has not fully sunk in. I keep reminding myself that this is real and that I need to excel in my classes but at the same time, I need to enjoy every moment of this. I have worked hard but this is a blessing far beyond what I think I deserve but my God knows best. I appreciate my parents for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make so I can mount up on my own wings and enjoy opportunities they wish they could have enjoyed. 


For those who would like to live vicariously through me and are hopeful that I will be consistent with this blog, fly with me.

Jana oeuvre ses ailes (Jana spreads her wings). C’EST MA VIE! 


à bientôt, JRO


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