Veronica: First Entry in FranceJanuary 20, 2010
So…it’s been crazy. I’m going to have to cut this down so it isn’t a novel.
I got to France on the morning of the 12th and met my friend who I haven’t seen in almost 10 years. A little awkward, but it was good. I stayed with her for about a week. She showed me around where she lives, and I went to her high school with her for two days. That was really weird. They get smoking breaks and their hallways open to the outside. They take notes verbatim from what the teacher says. It’s required. Then she got married on Saturday the 16th. It was quite a party. It lasted a very long time. I didn’t know very many people since I had only been there a few days and the last time I was with her was when I was 10. But her grandparents and some of her friends took care of me. It was nice. But I spent a lot of time on my own anyway. One thing that I really noticed at the wedding is that guys/men are very forward with women. It’s really unsettling. It’s stuff that just doesn’t happen in the US. It made me uncomfortable. But I have to get used to it.
Now, to Montpellier. It’s gorgeous. I love it. I almost don’t feel like I’m away from home, so that’s either culture shock or this feels like home. Not sure yet. So far, we got a tour of the city, met lots of people, picked out classes (but I register on Friday), ate at the cafeteria, figured out the tram, bought train passes, been a little confused and overwhelmed, and spent lots of money. It’s nuts. But I already have a group of friends, which is nice. It’s not too strong yet, obviously, since it’s so early, but it’s nice all the same.
My host family is really nice. I like them a lot. A lot. But I’m really shy, so I haven’t really talked to them yet. I will once I feel more comfortable. Soon, hopefully. They have a gorgeous house and they have WiFi, and a phone that calls the US for free. They also own a vineyard. If you end up with my family, I can promise that you’ll be happy.
I can tell you that this first week has been hard. Intense culture shock and homesickness. It’s fun, really fun, but it’s so overwhelming that it hasn’t been too enjoyable. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but that’s how it feels.
I’ll say more when it isn’t so late at night.