Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 2 - Il faut battre le fer pendant qu'il est chaud.

"Strike while the iron is hot"

Sleeping for 12 hours helped, a little. On top of the total jet lag, I had over slept. We stumbled down to breakfast - croissants et cafe - Then waited for instructions that turned out to not be instructions but a sort of guide/how-to. She basically told us that there is no instructions and to do whatever your family wants. That's an orientation? Alright. We then packed up our stuff and headed our separate ways to the train stations to meet our families. My first train ride = scary. It doesn't help I've never ridden one in the states, let alone France. I didn't understand a damn word it said over the intercom! The only way I knew my stop was were it was is because they had the arrival time on the ticket. Even that was precarious since the train had to stop for "security" ( that's the only word I got out of the announcement). While trying to manhandle my luggage off the train* the handle on the big one broke. That's going to be a charm on the way home.

My family was there to greet me when I clamored off, luggage and all. They even had a little sign with my name on it, although didn't need it since I was pretty recognizable with a lot of luggage and looking completely bewildered. They are very nice, Dominique and Nathalie, parents who's kids are my age and don't live at home. Their daughter Mathilde is also very nice and super cool and has already made plans for us to hang out this weekend.

It turns out I don't know a damn thing in French aside from saying I'm dumb don't talk to me. Dominique is a journalist for a couple of local newspapers, so he knows EVERYBODY in town. This is not beneficial since everybody already seems to know about me and wants to talk to the American girl.. in french. They all talk extremely fast and with really thick accents so It's really hard to understand them, then, when I give them a blank stare and cock my head sideways and say "repetez s'il vous plait" they look at me like I'm a puppy that chewed on their favorite shoes. Others are nice, though. People more my age would like to get together and practice their english.

That's one thing I've noticed about the French, besides from them being overly friendly. they all like to show me their fancy english skills which amount to one or two words from an American song. It's a great town, though. Like I said, everybody is very friendly. Always saying hello, good day, blah blah or waving. Maybe i'll fit in after awhile. probably not.

I'm still exhausted.

*while most french men were complete skeezes, all hope was not lost. Everytime I had to drag my huge bag up stairs in Le Metro, a very nice French man either helped me carry it up or insisted on taking it up for me. C'est la vie :)

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