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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandma Looks for Guidance to Tame Happy Wild Child

DEAR ABBY: I'm a college freshman, majoring in French but taking other languages as well. I don't know what I want to do with my life, but I know that I love learning languages.

My friend, "Lacey," has offered me the chance to stay with her family in France during our next summer break. Her family suggested it, and Lacey is urging me to go. I want to go to France, but I was planning on studying abroad through my university in a couple of years.

Lacey thinks I should stay with her family for a month or two in order to appreciate the culture. She says I could do some baby-sitting or chores to earn my keep, but I have two concerns: I feel it would be an inconvenience for her family to take me in as a houseguest for the whole summer. And I don't know what I would do with myself.

Lacey won't be there, and I'd be living in a suburban area. I have no idea how I'd learn the culture without the structure only a school can provide. Lacey says school isn't a true experience, and I should just show up in France and decide as I go. We have reached an impasse, and I'd like to know what you would do in my shoes. -- TRES TROUBLEE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR TRES TROUBLEE: Are you kidding? If I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this one, I'd take Lacey up on it in two seconds flat. And I'd keep a journal.