New Friends

French Word of the Day: amis (ah me)- friends

I haven’t been writing because I have had neither internet nor time.  I’m in Tours.  The family I’m staying with has three children (two girls, one boy, ages 7-13).  I haven’t met the children yet, but I think everything should be fine (I originally posted “should be good” and then the English major in me came back).  The mom (Larence) was pleased to find out I was older than 16, because I’m more independent.  Although, like everyone else on the planet, she thought I was around 16 when she first saw me.  16 year-olds like to steal food from the fridge.  I’m allowed to come and go as I please, and I’m much closer to the city center than I was before.

Best of all?  I get my own room!

I can’t wait until I move into my foyer in three weeks.  After Tours (two weeks from now), it still won’t be ready because it’s still being built.  This means I have to stay somewhere else for the week after Tours.  Having to move my bags again will not be my favorite moment.  However, having a brand new place with a brand new toilet of my OWN will be great.

My foyer is supposed to be awesome.  I’ve been told it’s like a mini studio apartment with its own bathroom and kitchenette.  Having seen the size of some of the studio apartments in Paris, the word “mini” worries me.  I’ll send photos in three weeks and we can all learn together what “mini” is for Paris.  I’m guessing only my arm will fit inside.

I met everyone from the program yesterday.  They all seem to be normal, well-adjusted human beings.  I hope I maintain this impression.

I did find people willing to make the journey with me to Disneyland Paris!  I’m not the only one who enjoys pure happiness.  I was pleased to find more than one person.  Judging by that alone, I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble with this group.

I also got my French bankcard!  The French have different credit cards than we do, which made my life a lot harder last year.  I would give them my card and they’d stare at it like it was going to eat them.  I would have to teach them how to use it.

Théo has been reading my blog posts.  I was in the room when he read them and he mostly laughed.  He only got offended and said, “Hey!” a few times.  I’m taking that as a good sign.

Pain au chocolat count: 4

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First Days in Paris

French Word of the Day: Arrondissement (air-on-dees-mon)- the 20 administrative districts of, each referred to by its number

I made it to Paris two days ago, but I only learned the password for the internet last night.  I spent roughly 9 hours flying, and 14 traveling altogether.  We were stuck on the runway for an hour in London because of the strike.  I barely slept, so my first day in Paris was spent sleeping.  Thankfully, Arnaud was there to help me carry my bags (and by help, I mean do it for me).  And Théo made me dinner, so nothing was very stressful.

I found out why they stole my aisle seat!  The strikes were because of the pensions everyone in France receives after a certain age.  I believe the age was 60, but they moved it to 62.  Everyone in France was protesting.  (To quote Théo, “I don’t know why they’re so upset because everyone is living longer.  It’s only two years.”)  They called it “Strike Day.”  Do I know how to time my arrival or what?

I’m getting better at French!  I understand everyone much better- either that or they’re speaking slower.  I know Théo is “dumbing down” his French (he said as much), but I did the same with English for awhile for his benefit, so that works for me.  I managed to hold a real conversation with his father (who speaks very little English) the first night I arrived.  It slowly regressed as I got more and more tired until I finally gave up and said, “I’ll tell you in a few months when I can explain it better” and proceeded to basically fall asleep at the table.

Despite that, he said my French had greatly improved since January.

I finally received my address for the next year.  It’s in the 9th Arrondissment.  That’s the Opéra Garnier one!  (The Phantom of the Opera opera house, for all those unaware.)  It’s just one neighborhood over from where I lived last time.  The description they gave me was more flowery than informative, so I just know I’ll be in a GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD!  WITH CULTURE ALL OVER THE PLACE!  THE BUILDING IS OLD, BUT IT’S BEEN RENOVATED TO BE HIP AND MODERN!  Are there kitchens?  Do I have my own room?  Will they be giving me food?  Do I have a curfew?  These are details that apparently are less important to know.

It’s only going to take me a half hour to get to school and I won’t have to change metro lines!  (I took 3 different lines last time, it took me 45-50 minutes.)  I’m very pleased about that.  Although, I oddly suspect it should have taken me less time…

Well, gotta go do some yoga and then explore Paris with one of the girls from the program.  I said I’d go with her around Paris because she’s a lot a bit nervous.  I’m taking her to the infamous Afterwork tonight (open bar for two hours).  She’s uber excited.

Pain au chocolat count: 1