dimanche 28 août 2011

Long time no post...

Sorry for the lack of posting, I've been wanting to focus on my French and getting to know my host family.  The only reason I'm posting now is because it's currently 4:14 in the morning here, I've been up since 1 in the afternoon (23:00 here), I'm dead tired, and I cannot get to sleep.  Jet lag creates unhappy situations where my brain is screaming, "I need to rest!!!" while my body clock obstinately refuses, saying, "It's only 7:20, you shouldn't be asleep for at least four hours yet."  So here I sit, updating my blog at 4:20 in the morning when I shouldn't be waking up for at least four hours yet.

Anyway.  Here's an email I wrote to my family subscrib excit describing (see how tired I am?) my trip in and my first impressions of France.  My mom suggested I use it as a blog post, so here it is!

I am already having a lovely time here in France.  Both flights went well, and the flight across the country to Philly was a glorious way to say goodbye to the US.  Going over the midwest was gorgeous, the fields are so flat and square that it looks like a tiled floor.  Pennsylvania was also beautiful from above.  I spent most of the first flight staring out the window! 

The transfer went fine, except for a brief scare when I thought I had forgotten my visa card, which was a rather important thing to have...but it all turned out, and I boarded the plane with everything I needed.

The flight to France was mostly spent reading The Count of Monte Cristo, though I also played a trivia game on my video screen and used said screen to monitor the plane's progress using the GPS app.  I managed to get about four hours of sleep.  The last hour before landing was spent talking with my neighbor, who was a Frenchman returning to Paris from Baltimore where he was doing stuff with physics.  Turns out he was born in Algeria, so he speaks both French and Arabic...and he just happens to be seated next to me.  And French and Arabic are the two languages I want to learn.  I love fate.  Anyway, he gave me some great advice about places to go in Paris. 

That early morning portion just before landing was amazing...the fields were were flying over were so picturesque, so french, and there was mist hanging over everything...tres jolie.  And the moment the plane's wheels touched to runway was magical.  Finally, I am in France! 

After disembarking the aircraft I promptly realized that the plans for meeting Mike were rather fuzzy, so I got rather panicked and kept desperately trying to find someone who either spoke English or could understand my terrible French.  I got all the way to the baggage claim area (Customs was super easy...the guy looked at my passport for about ten seconds, stamped it, and I was on my way) before I finally found got up the courage to use my little French.  Turns out he knows Mike, my host dad, so he could lead me to the right place.  I am proud to say that I spoke at least three, maybe four full sentences of French to the nice man, explaining the situation, and he understood!

After we found Mike and the Rotary people, I shook hands with all of them, had my picture taken, and set off for home.  Mike's spoken English is actually quite good, so we talked on the way home and helped each other with a few words (steering wheel, flour, ect).  First place we went was the bakery to get breakfast...leaving with two bags of pastries and three baguettes, apparently a normal haul for the average French family.  Then home for breakfast (tea, orange juice, and pastries). Michel has three clocks set up in the living room, one for Paris time, one for Seattle time, and one for Mexico time (since their daughter Maeva is in Chihuahua City while I am here), which is useful. 

My neighborhood is just like the stereotypical French village.  The streets are tree lined, the houses all have functional shutters, and there's a tiny bakery and grocery shop down the street.  Pictures coming soon! 

I'm starting to feel guilty for using this much English, so I'll wrap it up.  I'm already having an amazing time here, and I think there are many more amazing experiences waiting in my future!

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