Saturday, October 26, 2013

New to blogging, but not to writing!

Bonjour! Il y aura un nouvel auteur de ce blog...MOI, Axelle Aubain !

I heard that I get to practice my English by writing on this blog. EXCITING! Where do I begin? Hmm, well, hopefully, you caught onto my name: Axelle Elise Aubain. I'm a half-French, half-Algerian girl with BEAUTIFUL curls. Most people with curly hair want straight hair, but I don't!

I'm sure you're wondering about my name, especially since I said I was half-Algerian. My dad is French, and my mom is from Algeria. For conformist purposes, my parents didn't want me to have an Algerian first or middle name. The French don't take well to foreigners, as I've been learning for years. I am a French citizen who was born and raised in Lille. However, since my parents' divorce five years ago, I've been living in Roubaix every other week and half of school vacations. It's a little living situation called une semaine sur deux. There's even a movie with that title, and I suggest you watch it. I can relate.

Let's talk about my background for a second. I live this this country called France. This country loves secularism and assimilation. Because of this, it is my dream to live in New York City. I know what you're thinking: why NYC? We French think of NYC like you Americans think of Paris. It's a magical idea. Anyway, I want to live in a place where it is okay to be different. The American Dream sounds beautiful to me. 

Let's now talk about secularism. What is secularism? Have you ever heard of laïcité? Here's the deal. In France, we keep things secular. That is just a fancy way of saying that we believe in the separation of church in state. Sometimes, we believe in it so much that we think any expression of religion is bad. You cannot wear anything that indicates your faith in government-run places. For example, think twice before you wear that cross necklace to school. Most importantly, think twice before you wear your hijab, or head scarf, ANYWHERE. You definitely can't wear it in government-run places, but even if you wear it to places that aren't government-run, you are going to face discrimination and many prejudices. There is a fear that Muslims are taking jobs and the French don't like that many Muslims do not integrate into French society. 

That leads us to the main problem about being a Muslim in France: lack of assimilation. Many French (not all, of course) resent that Muslims are not integrating into the culture and society. Many Muslims refuse to assimilate. Stereotypes do feed into it (thinking that all Muslims are terrorists, etc), but the biggest role is that Muslims just aren't as open to assimilation. That, in a nutshell, is why the United States sounds like an awesome country. The US doesn't push cultural and societal assimilation. Since the US was founded by immigrants, immigrants are accepted and welcomed.


How does any of this play into my problems? I'm a girl with no faith. I feel pressure from my mom to practice Islam, and I feel pressure from my dad to be a non-practicing Roman Catholic. What's worse is that I feel pressure from society to avoid Islam. They don't know the true Islam, though. The religion is about love, and it is actually more similar to Christianity than most people think. Those terrorists aren't true Muslims; they are extremists. I'm just so torn on this. I want to believe in something, but it's so hard when I'm being pulled in several different directions. Religion is important to my mom, and that is why the issue is so important to me. I eat halal foods when I'm with my mom, and after spending time with my mom, it's hard to be with my dad who likes to serve alcohol, which is strictly forbidden by the Qur'an.

I just don't know how to be true to myself AND how to be true to my parents. I don't want to upset either one by my choices.

Enough about that! Let's talk about ME!!! I'm clever, sneaky, nosy, and lazy. I admitted to my faults. I love to get into people's business and eavesdrop on conversations, all of which is HIGHLY frowned upon. I used to think it would be cool to be a private investigator. I ALWAYS find out the truth about people. My methods have yet to fail me.
I'm a dancer. I've been taking at the Ballet du Nord's studio since I was a wee little Axelle Aubain. I'm pretty good; my teachers and fellow dancers say so. However, I'm lazy and don't put as much time into ballet as I should. That sometimes leads me to get really crappy parts in productions.
I'm also lazy when it comes to school. I do just enough to get decent grades, but it's not like I kill myself over it.

I'm not as good of a friend as I'd like to be, but I'm working on changing that. Maybe.

I talked about the bad. Let's discuss the good. I am OBSESSED with writing. Writing is basically my life: it is my way to communicate my thoughts and ideas. I love creating and imagining things. I keep a very active journal, and I also write my own news articles. I want to be a journalist for La Voix du Nord someday. I even daydream about starting my own magazine for strong, Muslim women living in France. My brother, Benjamin, loves the stories that I write. I used to write stories just for him. He thinks I should be a children's author. We'll see!

That's all about me, for now! If you are still craving more, be sure to read my profile! If you have any questions for me, leave them in the comments! I would LOVE to answer them!

A tout à l'heure!
Axelle

Friday, October 11, 2013

Double-take

Salut, tout le monde! C'est Sabine, et ce soir, je suis allée à une boum. 

Julieta invited me to go to a party with her. The party was for some girl she was friends with, and Julieta assured me that I would like this girl the second I met her. I, however, wasn't so sure. Julieta seemed to love everybody, including the people I couldn't stand. 

Julieta laughed and asked if she should introduce herself to new people as "Julie Alonso". I had to laugh back. Julie Alonso was Julieta's alias because many students and teachers struggle with the "h" sound at the beginning of her first name and "s" at the end of her last name. I assured her that she would always be "Ulieta Alonso Moralé" to me. I asked Julieta why Aurélie didn't join us, and she said that Aurélie was upset with her. Aurélie asked her how she felt about the flamenco classes she was taking, and Julieta said they weren't as advanced as the classes she is used to. Well, of course! Julieta is from Sevilla! I guess that upset Aurélie, but Aurélie is ALWAYS over-sensitive. It drove me nuts, even though she's my best friend. 

Julieta told me to wait her while she found her friend. Er, she shouted. That's more accurate than "told". I tend to hate stereotypes, but there is some truth in them. Julieta is loud compared to us French, and the Spanish have a reputation for being, well, loud. It's something that I'm not used to, and it startles me. I guess I should be use to it, having spent several summers in the States with some very rambunctious friends!

She made her way through the crowd, and I felt nervous. I sometimes felt uneasy meeting new people, especially in large social settings. I love spending time with my close friends, but I really need my alone time, too. I also like to stay with my friends in these situations, so I didn't like that Julieta ditched me...even if it was only for a few minutes!

Finally, she returned with a girl and proudly declared, "Sabine, I want you to meet Sabine Brindeau! Are you sure that you and Sandrine don't have a long-lost triplet!"

I wasn't sure what she meant by that until I made eye contact with the girl. Woah. Not only did she have my hair (but with thicker bangs), she dressed like me, too.

"Are you sure we aren't related?" She giggled. I nodded "no". Who was this girl? Where did she come from? And how did Julieta of all people know her? Seriously, Julieta can't even name all of the students in our math class. I don't know how she'd meet my creepy lookalike who is probably secretly evil and wants to destroy my life. I'm pretty sure that's how it works; I've watched a lot of movies. 

"Um, who are you?" I stammered, unsure of what else to say. I was too creeped out to say anything else. 

Without making eye contact, she laughed. "Je m'appelle Sabine Brindeau. Je t'ai déjà dit cela!
Well, duh. Of course I knew her name! But who was she? How did she know Julieta? What is she doing here? I've never seen this girl a day in my life! I go to a large school, but I'm pretty sure this girl doesn't go to my school. Needless to say, I did what every angry person does. I further questioned her.

She shared some of her story. "I'm Sabine Brindeau. I'm from Lille, too, but I obviously don't go to your school. I was an exchange student in the United States last year, in the state of North Carolina, to be exact."
Great. This made sense. She probably knew Ava, and Ava probably sent her to harass me. Next time I Skyped with Ava, I was going to flip out. I asked her if she happened to know an obnoxious blonde named Ava Seffner, and she said that she didn't. She studied near Winston-Salem, not Mooresville. Or so she says...not sure if I can believe her. Ava will tell me the truth, though! Anyway, Other Sabine told me that she met a boy over there, and she really wants to go back to be with him. She said that Julieta thought she was nuts for wanting to meet this boy again. After all, Julieta was Julieta sin Romeo. I, however, was intrigued by this idea of a long-distance relationship. It probably sounded more romantic than it actually was, but being a teenage girl, I wanted her to tell me all about him. Maybe talking to her would make her seem less mysterious. However, I still don't know much about her. That is literally all I know. She wouldn't tell me what part of Lille she's from, how she knows Julieta, or any of the other invasive-yet-necessary questions I asked. I just know that she's in love. Aren't we all? I mean, all of us except for Julieta, I guess. 

I told Julieta that I wanted to go so that we could watch a movie with Aurélie. Although we both weren't on the best terms with her, I still considered her to be my best friend. I kind-of promised that we'd watch a movie together. We were going to watch Intouchables, a comedy/drama about an unexpected friendship. It was one of my favorites, and I was sure that Julieta, who hasn't really watched French films, would enjoy it, too. 
I did tell Other Sabine that I hoped to see her again, and she hesitantly said that she'd like to. Honestly, the only reason I hoped to see her again was to get more scoop on her background because like I said at least a million times, THE GIRL IGNORED SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. I am NEVER this nosy and involved in people's lives, but Julieta wanted me to meet this girl for a reason. It was my duty to find out what that reason was.  

As we left the party, I asked Julieta why she wanted me to meet Other Sabine. Julieta smiled and said, "You'll find out...algún día..."


Have you ever met a mysterious person?

~Sabine