Today, I walked.
I walked everywhere.
I got lost, and I kept walking, and then I walked some more.
Tours is not a huge city, but there are lots of tiny little streets and not a lot of helpful signs. It lends itself well to walking without much of a purpose, but I need a little more practice before I can get anywhere without taking twice the time necessary.
My first walk was early this morning, when I decided to take a stroll down to the supermarket and check out the neighborhood. Highlights of this walk included: saying a fearful “Bonjour” to Laurent’s personal beehive, meeting an elderly gentleman who invited me to dinner (I said no thanks), and buying some provisions for lunch with Laurent.
After hamburgers (with ketchup they bought specifically for me, because of course all Americans love ketchup) and couscous, I grabbed a map of the city and went on my way. I made it all the way to le centre-ville (the main part of town) without any trouble, and then wandered around a few hours until I finally found a sign for the university.
I managed to find where the exchange student advisor was and then filled out a novel’s worth of forms. I’ll take a test on Friday to determine my level of French and then pick courses from there.
Every meal, the family comments on how little I eat. Dinner yesterday and today consisted of half a baguette for each of us, salad, the main course, yogurt, clementines, and dessert. Each of these things comes out separately and is completely finished before the next course. That’s so much food! I scared them last night with the comment “Je suis pleine” (literally: I am full), which apparently means “I am pregnant”.
Definitely my best mistake so far. Simon’s eyes were nearly as big as the bite of baguette in his mouth.
Even though I’ve made plenty of mistakes with the language in the past 24 hours, I already feel like I’ve improved from last night. Maybe I’m just more awake now, but I think that the immersion is already helping. Everyone is really nice about correcting my mistakes and giving me the right word to use when I have no idea-I’ve learned tons of vocab words in just one day.
Here’s hoping it continues.