After a day and a half of travel, I’m finally in my host-home, sitting on my bed, settled in.
Let’s start at the very beginning.
I left Mumsy and Popsicle at the Charleston airport without any tears (that I saw) and without Dad being tackled by the TSA agents for videotaping the whole thing. Both very surprising feats.
In a bit of a daze, I flew to Dallas and then made my connection to Paris. Here I should note that the Dallas airport does not have free wifi and I needed to email my host family, so I dictated an entire email (en français) to my mother letter by letter over the phone. She is glorious, but the lesson to be taken from this is that ALL airports should offer free wifi or at least a computer area. Jerks. Continuing on…
As we touched down in Paris, the biggest smile popped on my face. I’m sure I looked like an idiot, but for that moment, I got really excited…and then I realized what I had to do next: lug my sixty pound suitcase and carryon down to the train station, buy a ticket, and somehow manage to get myself and said items onto the correct car without ticking off everyone around me.
Alas, not all of that was possible. My stuff got here, but I definitely rolled over at least five feet in the process. Mais, pas de probleme! I was finally here! My host dad, Laurent, met me at the station and we drove around town for a bit. He says he doesn’t speak much English, but he probably knows better conversational English than I know conversational French. Whatever. I tried my best. After a quick tour of Tours (hardeehar), we picked up Simon, my new host brother, at elementary school and headed home.
Home, by the way, is a precious cottage with a huge garden on a hilltop. Oh, the French.
A pre-dinner snack of baguette and nutella and a board game called Rolit made Simon and me fast friends. I can’t understand a word he says because he’s twelve years old and never takes a breath, but he seems sweet.
After Martine and Mathieu got home around eight, we set the table and had dinner. As if nutella weren’t enough to make me love these people, Laurent made croques-monsieurs, which is essentially the best grilled cheese you ever had. I managed to keep up conversation through dinner, even though I can still only really understand Laurent the majority of the time. Martine seems to have a different accent, and Mathieu, being a sixteen year old boy, is required by universal law to mumble. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
After dinner, everyone went off to their own spaces pretty quickly. I got a shower (thank the lord for hot water) and am now truly settled.
In the train station today, I suddenly got the worst butterflies in my stomach, the same exact way I used to do on opening nights. I was nervous about one thing: trying to speak to my host family without any mistakes at all. I’ve made about fifty since I got here, and I realized that it’s just going to be that way for a while. No need to be nervous now; I’ve already gotten through the hardest part.