I think I should mention first and foremost that I haven’t had Diet Coke in a week!! I think this is the longest time I’ve gone without it. But I am actually sleeping and feeling better because of it. It’s definitely accessible to get here, but fairly expensive and the French usually always just have water or wine with home meals! So it’s all good.
I have been in France for a week now, so i suppose it is time to update my blog! But really, I haven’t had a chance because one, I just bought an adapter today that fits my computer charger and two, I have been so busy! This past week has gone by so fast though, I really can’t believe it! This post may be a little long because I want to remember and share everything.
So, my flight schedule was as follows: Jackson-Dallas-Madrid-Toulouse. 30 hours in all. Yes, 30. However, it really wasn’t that bad during the trip, but I had MAJOR jet leg problems. The first few night I couldn’t fall asleep before 4 AM. I resorted to Nyquil. I put WAY too much stuff in my backpack carry-on but it ended up being okay. But to future travelers, you really don’t need 6 magazines, 3 books, and iPod, Ipad, and 2 jackets on the plane. Plus all the carry-on liquids/medicines yada-yada. Anyways, Milena (my best french friend, who stayed with me for July in 2008, and I stayed with her for July in 2009) picked me up from Toulouse- it was SO good to see her! We went straight to her apartment- it is in the middle of Toulouse (the 4th biggest city in France) and is very close to her university and the centre-ville. That night, we went to this awesome spa-like thing with a few of her friends. It was a huge indoor heated pool with jacuzzi jets all around that was connected to an outside heated pool that was the same! tres chic. We also went to the sauna and “hammams” (steam room). That night, I slept for 14 hours. Over the next few days, I went to a few classes with Milena, which was cool because I actually understood some of some of the classes! We saw Django in French and went to a crepe-making party! It was really fun. We played this word game called “Time’s up”- like catch phrase but a few different rules. I was able to participate and actually gained a few points for my team! It was really cool for me to be able to play a French word game, and everyone cheered and laughed when I got an answer right!
For the weekend, we went to Carcassonne, where Milena’s parents live. It was very nice to be back at my “maison de la France” and see my French host parents! We went to a rugby match (my first!) and boy, are the players attractive. Milena’s dad is the manager of all of the sports in Carcassonne, so we got VIP seats. Very cool. At her house, I had traditional French meals, bread, cheese, meat, vegetables.. all so fresh and wonderful!
I was sad to leave my first french family, it was such a good first week in France! Sunday, I took the train from Toulouse to Paris, and Paris to Angers. The first train was about 5 hours. It wasn’t bad except a lady sitting across from me had a seizure and they had to call all doctors on the train, so that was scary. She ended up being fine though! I could see the Eiffel Tower as we were entering Paris! I wish there was a video tape of me in the Paris train station though. Yeah. I had 20 minutes to change trains and was very nervous. At least in Paris all of the tracks are on the same level. Finally I found where I was supposed to go but had to run down 19 cars. With my 2 large pink suitcases I was sweating profusely even though it was below freezing. I finally got to my car! Yay Gracie! But then I had to pick up my suitcases and put them on a tall, tall shelf thing. A man offered his help. I know you aren’t supposed to let strangers with your bags, but y’all, i couldn’t lift that. What do ya know, he didn’t steal them! People aren’t as bad as they are made out to be. I said “merci merci merci” and found my seat. When I arrived at the train station in Angers my host mother, father, and sister were waiting! They are SUCH a wonderful family and their house is amazing. I had heard horror stories about host families, but as far as I can tell, I will not have one of those, thank goodness! Valerie, my host mom, speaks VERY quickly, but is really helping me learn French. I am a little stressed about the language, but I think after a few weeks or so it will be okay. I’ve already improved a little bit! We had a nice dinner and I went to sleep! Today, Valerie showed me around Angers. We walked to my university and around the city. Angers is a wonderful little city. Very, very pretty and full of students! The “atmosphere” reminds me of Oxford- but Oxford gone French. There is another American student staying here too! She arrived today. Sophie is from Notre Dame! We had lunch together with Valerie and she seems very very nice! I think we will get along very well. We get the 3rd floor all to ourselves, 2 bedrooms, a den, and a bathroom!
I know this post was very I did this, this, this, and this, but I just wanted to give an update of what I have been during this first week! More super adventures to come soon!
I miss everyone so much but am loving it here!! Au revoir.
~ Gracie Boland