It seems like it was just yesterday that I was at home packing my suitcase preparing to arrive in France. I was extremely nervous to leave my family and live in another country for a whole month, and saying goodbye to my parents at the airport didn’t help at all. It only made me realize how much I was going to miss them and pulling away from their hugs seemed impossible. I eventually let go and continued onto the plane, and because I was surrounded by such wonderful friends the nerves slowly began to disappear.
We landed in Paris and spent the next two nights staying in a hostile there before leaving for Montpellier Saturday morning. While we were in Paris, we visited la Cathédrale Notre-Dame, climbed la Tour Eiffel, and walked up and down the avenue des Champs-Élysées. Each day was filled with visiting new places, walking, taking the train, and of course eating delicious meals! The schedule was packed with exciting adventures and because of that, there really wasn’t any down time to have to ourselves during the day. The longest time we had to relax in our rooms besides sleeping was probably when we had to pack up our suitcases before dinner on the last night, when we were given around one hour at most.
While on the train to Montpellier I was excited to meet my host mom. I had been nervous before but I soon relaxed and knew that it would be okay. As soon as the train rolled to a stop though, I began to panic. We were told to get off the train, grab our suitcases and then disperse to find our host families right away, without a specified time to say goodbye to each other before school would start on Monday. A few tears trickled down my face as I prepared to find Valérie my host mom. When we connected at the train station she smiled at me and began talking to me right away and helped me carry my luggage to her apartment which took about 10 minutes to walk to. The second we walked in the door to her apartment she told me that she was going to be my mom for the three weeks I was staying in Montpellier and that I should feel comfortable and act as though I was at home. The words she said made me feel so loved right away and even though it was weird being in another country, living in a place that was unfamiliar, and speaking a language that is not easy for me to communicate in, I felt so wonderful and I knew things would be okay then. We went over my allergies and googled images of vegetables I could eat to make sure we were on the same page. She spoke mainly in french to me that first day with a little bit of English to help me understand what she was saying.
It is now Sunday night and I have received five hugs in less than two full days. Valérie has taken my hands in hers multiple times already just to look me in the eyes and say that I shouldn’t be asking permission to shower or eat breakfast because her home is my home and there is no need to ask. I feel so comfortable here so far and having time to relax in my own room, explore the city with friends, eat yummy dinners and talk with Valérie is a nice change from the bustling city of Paris.
Tomorrow morning all 18 of us start school and Valérie is going to walk me there with the lunch she is packing for me. I must get some sleep now because it’s getting late and I need to wake up early!
I hope everyone back at home is doing well and I’m sending all my love,