Published: October 21st 2009October 21st 2009
This is what I wrote on my computer my first day in France
While traveling today I was thinking “what should i title my first blog”....some options were, 3 countries in one day, when your luggage falls off your luggage cart at the airport or oh shit why am i here? today (and im not even sure i should even call it today since its been more like 2 days) was quite eventful so maybe i should start from the beginning. i left seatac airport all disheveled and sad after my mini meltdown. i dont think its quite hit me yet that im in France. My flight to Chicago was good, nothing out of the ordinary. When I got to chicago I quickly found my gate and boarded my flight to Paris. So far so good. I got on the plane and noticed hmmm most of the people on this flight are speaking French but I suppose since it’s a flight to Paris thats not out of the ordinary, duh Nicole. Still it was intimidating and exciting at the same time. I tried to pack away my luggage in the overhead storage bin but it wouldn't fit so I left
it so other passengers could get by. my mistake was just leaving it. the french flight attendant came over, saw it sticking out and said whose is this? i raised my hand and he was like “did you try to put it in or did you just leave it, did you call me, i asked you to call me if you needed help, did you”? i told him I couldn't make it fit, so he made it fit and then cracked a smile. The french woman next to me mumbled something about him joking but of course under all of the stress I took it personally and as the rest of the passengers boarded and loaded their things, I started crying. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I cry during this trip. I like calling it a trip because it makes it seem like I’ll be coming home sooner and as you can imagine I am having some severe homesickness as I type.
I am very sore today after carting around all of that luggage. To say that I was a hot mess at the airport/train stations is an understatement. Which brings me to my potential blog
titles. i was proud of myself because I found my way to the currency converter, bought a calling card, made a couple calls, got my luggage and was off to find the train station. It didn't dawn on me that I’d have to take a shuttle to another terminal in order to find the train station however, i found the shuttle and loaded all of my things. BUT the following is what happened as i departed the elevator to catch the shuttle: i was packed on with a bunch of other travelers who were all standing behind me. the elevator door opens, i push my cart out and as im doing so all of my luggage falls off and into the travelers waiting to get onto the elevator. now as you can imagine, i’ve just created a barricade be between me and travelers on the elevator and those who are trying to get on. luckily some nice people helped me gather my things and push them to the side so everyone else could get through.
From here, I got to the train station, bought my ticket and got on my train absolutely exhausted. More people helped with my massive
amounts of luggage which made true something that one of the teachers here told me before I got here. She said “you’ll see, the french are not as friendly as americans but there will always be someone to help you”. it was very true. not one of the people that helped with my luggage smiled but they helped anyway. amazing.
When i got to the train station in Lorraine, my tutor teacher came to pick me up. Her name is Vero, short for Veronique or our version of Veronica. Vero has been absolutely amazing during this transition. She came and got me and took me to her mom’s house in another village. Her parents were having friends over for lunch, about 10 of them none of which spoke any english so all at once they were asking me questions in French some of which I understood and some I had no idea what they were saying and because the whole time, everyone spoke over each other it made it really difficult to understand what they were saying. They were all really nice though and welcoming. And if course not to much surprise they were eating cheese, baguettes and drinking
wine. Man this place really is France. I keep being reminded of that. After Vero’s parents, we stopped in Luxembourg to get gas because it is cheaper there. Then we headed to Longwy. Once at Longwy I met some people at the administrative building and then we took my things to my apartment. Now here is the problem. Lots of luggage + 6th floor apartment + no elevator equals really why has this whole day been a lifting workout? I thought at various points during the day that I really should have started working out just for this day. Poor Vero and I hauled all of my things upstairs and this one guy helped along the way with my heavier suitcase. I cringe at the thought of when I leave and have to haul everything back to the US. Luckily I have 7 months to do some strength training. We opened the door to my apartment and it was very basic as they said, but Vero said it looked a lot better than it had so I’ll take her word for it. I found my room, a twin bed an old one at that, mentos colored pink walls, mentos colored
yellow armoire and red curtains and woodish floors. There is a sink and mirror in my bedroom which I thought was strange at first but now I love it, so convenient. And I’m sure it frees up a lot of time between the 4 of us assistants sharing the bathroom.
Vero showed me around and I dropped my things in my room. She had gotten me some food for dinner and breakfast so I’d be able to eat until we went grocery shopping. When she left I looked around, felt homesick but was too tired to cry about it. I laid down and took a 4 hour nap, then I woke up, took a shower, made some pasta and sauce and called it a night. Day 1 = a success.
There are more photos below