It’s been a little over a week since we arrived in Montpellier, and already we have seen so much. But reflecting on the past week has yielded a few revelations. We have noticed that at many points in the past week, it was the small stuff that made the week awesome. Although our comrades covered the big stuff like our trip to Avignon and Saint Guilhem le Desert and our explorations of the town, there were a lot of little untold stories that didn’t make it into the narrative. We have some of them here for you today.
During the past week, we’ve enjoyed plenty of down-time and other activities with our families. This weekend I(Emma) got to meet my host-mom’s 22 year-old daughter. It was fun getting the chance to speak in french with someone closer to my age. We discussed the differences and similarities between french and american culture and her love for the Kardashians even though she thinks they’re crazy.
Each dinner, I (Emma) find speaking in french gets a little easier and my host mom and I have developed a little game where she quizzes me on items in the kitchen during dinner, which has been improving my vocabulary quite a bit! It’s been great getting used to the routine of living with my host mom. I’ve become accustomed to my room and the culture of my specific situation. Just having the apartment door code memorized makes me feel a little more at home here. I love my short walk home and the chance to admire all the architecture at sunset, before returning home to my little apartment.
I (Josh) also got to spend time at home. I live in a cool neighborhood right near the train station. It’s not exactly the prettiest area, but it has its charm. For example, my neighborhood has a lot of really cool graffiti everywhere. There are even some “trompe l’oeils” or mirage murals. They are very colorful and creative. I have provided some photos below. (PHOTOS) On the first day, I was thrilled to see that my host mother lived in a quaint and classically French apartment. Although it was small, it was functional, and I knew I could easily make myself at home here. On the first day, my French was still a little rusty, so when my mother laid out the ground rules for going out and stuff, I just barely hung on. Before I knew it, she started out the door, saying she was getting some “trucs” at the cheese store (or at least that’s what I heard.) I also thought that she was inviting me to come along, so I left my key on my bed. But in the lobby, she babbled some stuff I didn’t understand while I nodded, and she left suddenly. I realized she thought I was going to meet up with some other CSW kids. But I didn’t have my key, and she didn’t say when she was coming back. So I dashed out the door, trying to follow her, but she had already disappeared into the urban jungle. So I decided to just wait outside the apartment, still within the comfort of the wifi bubble, and wait for her to come back. After all, how long could it possibly take for her to buy cheese? Well, it took four hours. I sat there until the cow came home and the sun set behind the train station. Luckily, two and a half hours in, I was let into the building lobby by someone. After frantically contacting as many people as I could by phone or chat, I realized the best course of action was to wait in the lobby. So I did, and eventually my mother came home, but not after fraying many nerves.
Hope you enjoyed some of our short stories!