Voila! I am here. I have been in Tulle, France for a week as of yesterday. There are too many emotions to explain. Needless to say I am tired, a little scared, but most of all...Happy!
Getting here was hardly pleasant. I had to squeeze my entire life into one fifty pound bag, (Mine was 48.5, hazzah!) and two carry ons. My plane went to D.C., where all fifty plus Americans living in France gathered. My plane landed in Paris the next day, (because of the time difference) and I had one more plane to Clermont Ferrand Airport near Tulle.
I met my counselor and the Rotary president at the airport. Then we began our journey to the main city. Only it was not smooth. On the way we got a flat tire. Only me. Thus, it took three planes, one car, one tow truck, and one taxi for me to finally get to my family. But, I got there, jet lagged and all.
Imagine yourself tired, confused, not understanding all that is being said, and having to meet the family that you must live with for three months. Well that's what I had to do. But...It was AMAZING! I am living with the Albinet family first. The dad is a journalist, the mom is a secretary, and the twins are in middle school. My little brothers grabbed my luggage and ran me to the car. We piled into the tiny French car and talked (French/English). We were flying in the city, and only got faster when we hit the mountains. My house is so close the top. In fact the picture to the right is the view from my backyard! The pictures below are of my gorgeous and modern house, and my room! That's right I have my own building, and no it is not the garage. : P
Most French people have a garden, but the Albinet's really have a garden. There are apples, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, pumpkins, potatoes, herbs, and more if you can believe it. At breakfast they walk over and pull fresh fruit off of the vine and put it right into the food. I know that there are gardens in the states, but we do not rely on them. We go to Schnucks and get what we need for dinner. But there is no supermarket within miles. They are very scarce in France. There is a charcuterie and a bakery though. They buy fresh meat and bread every other, if not every day. It is not true that the French eat less than Americans. America eats a lot of calories yes, but food, definitely not. At a given dinner, I eat three vegetables in a sauce or with rice, meat, two sides, four of five pieces of bread, cheese, fruit, yogurt or ice cream, and water. It is a lot, trust me, but healthy. I have not had one McDonald's or Bread Co. craving yet!
My days have been full and fun (vacation you know). I have climbed the hills of Tulle, (I am still recovering). I have played golf with my little brothers. I went to a market at least five times the size of Soulard in St. Louis. I went to the south of France and met grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and had jam sessions with some great French musicians. I went to a "party in the village" and literally dance the night away. I have played Uno Attack forty times, (My gift to the boys). I have played ping-pong, gone shopping, had a picnic on a lake, met students, friends, neighbors, and American nun, and petted a squirrel. Whew.
Well, I guess that's enough. I know this first post was wordy, but I figured everyone wanted an update. My next post will be about school. You can comment if you have any questions, and I will try to answer them. This was only the first week of almost 52. This is only the beginning of France, the Rotary, and Me!