Well hello there ladies and gentlemen! As probably most of you have guessed, after two weeks with no headlines about an American girl getting the boot out of France or any horrendous plane crash, I am neither dead nor wounded but am happily getting settled (petit à petit) into my new place in France. So rest assured: after one very looong flight over the ocean, a bit of jet lag, and somehow managing to drop my passport in the toilet, I have safely arrived. At least I can say that this time the flight did not involve a family of 6 very rambunctious kids running up and down the aisles while their father nosily reprimanded them in Hebrew and for that I am eternally grateful.
So what's my new home like, you might wonder? Well I'm living at a small bible institute in kind of a dorm style setting with 9 other girls from really all over. I've never seen so much diversity in one place—there's people from Vietnam, Laos, China, Estonia, one the “Stans” from the former USSR, Germany, the Caribbean, Africa, and now: good ol' USA. Let me just say that it's definitely cut down on the pressure to perfect my French accent!
It was just a wee bit of a culture shock to go from speaking 100 % English to the exact opposite when I arrived, but lemme tell ya, it's been one of the best things possible for my French. Already I'm feeling much more confident and comfortable speaking lots of French. (Somehow, last year's middle students
weren't quite as encouraging as the students at the institute are...no clue why...) :)
preparing the meal for the students, dancing around to the music on the radio, etc) my English class (went pretty well: definitely the first time I've ever had to prepare a syllabus and the like, but my students are super excited to start
learning English and I think I even have a few more people who'd like to sign up), and my own classes at the institute (hmm, I thought it would merely be a French class I'd be taking, but somehow I got roped into 2 French classes, and an Old Testament Law class—we'll see how that goes... ).
Highlights of my first two weeks in France: 1) calling Matt “Math” one night because my tongue refused to choose either Matthew or Matt and my brain was too fried to care; 2) showing a whole group of girls my “secret sister” person because I thought the little slip of paper had to do with my internet code; trying chicken stomach for the very first time; and 4) somehow (despite all my long hours spent in food service) managing to send an entire tray and plateful of food flying towards to hallway... Well, that's all for now folks, I'll keep you updated on the adventures to come!