Despite my growing comprehension of French, and a persistent use of gestures, the language barrier is still very evident between me and the members of my host family. An inability to express my identity to my family, who I have come to love, has by far been the most frustrating aspect of adapting to life here in France. However, the estrangement and isolation that this has caused has allowed me to discover new ways to actively relate to my family.
One way in which I have done so is through music. Cliché though it may seem, my host family and I share an undying love for music, and thus far we have shared quite a few dinners and car rides to the melodies of Coeur de pirate, Phoenix, and other French musicians. Although “la musique” is enjoyable, what I have found to be most interesting comes about during our occasional silence while the songs play. As the conversation fades, the music takes hold of our minds, and we slip into a daze, tapping our fingers on the table. Although I am often clueless as to what they are thinking and saying, during these moments it seems as though we are all on the same page. It has become apparant to me that the love of music has a language of its own.
–Madeline Hunter ’10