Un salut... en retard
Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
1Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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I have almost officially been here for 6 weeks, and have yet to post an update on my new, French life and haven't been keeping a journal or taking many pictures either. Huge fail on my part… However, that must mean that France is keeping me busy!
I arrived in Angers the 2nd of August. That day, my French host family picked me up at the train station and brought me back to their home where I unpacked and rested for the afternoon. My living situation could not be more perfect. I live in a house with a woman, Christine, her second husband, Jean, and Christine’s 15-year-old daughter, Aubéry. We all enjoyed tea, mojitos and crossword puzzles in the garden later that afternoon and Pierre-Etienne, Christine’s youngest son, joined us that night for dinner
For the first two weeks, I was the only student in the home with the family. I eat breakfast and dinner with them, and have benefitted enormously from the quality time spent and conversation had with every member. The time outside of class (which isn’t very often), I try to spend with the family. Often, I watch TV with Jean, talk to Christine in the kitchen or garden, and go shopping or have a coffee en the centre-ville with Aubery. The second weekend after I arrived, they even invited me to spend the day at the beach with them in Villeveque, on the Loire River. C’etait magnifique!
Later, a Japanese and German student moved into the house. Though I wasn’t able to get to know the Japanese woman well, Alexandra, the German student and I became good friends. Unfortunately, after two weeks, she moved out because she moved into an apartment closer to her university. So, now, we have two other girls in the house; Besty, a fellow American from Missouri and Mina, from Japan – both of which are absolutely … charmantes! (If you can’t already tell, English has become a challenge)
The course I took in August was a month long intensive language class
During September, I have another month intensive language courses except now; I am in level 7, have a civilization course and more hours of class each week. This session has a completely new group of students from August. The “CIDEF” is part of the “Université Catholique de l’Ouest” that provides language courses and a semester program for international students. And by international students, I don’t mean all Americans! There are students from more than 20 countries. I have friends from Belgium, Spain, Israel, Japan, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Mexico… just to name a few. Despite that the easiest common language is English, I try my best to parler toujours le francais!
Besides classes, watching French TV, chatting with my family and not sleeping enough, I have definitely been enjoying myself and doing a bit of traveling. As my Dad has also been in Europe for the last two months, I was able to spend a few weekends with him. One weekend, he came to Angers and met my host family. We spent time in Angers walking around the city and visiting churches and the Chateau and we also spent one afternoon at our real, blood “Echelard” family’s home. Likewise, I spent one weekend with him in Paris and also met up with him in Holland when I traveled there for a weeklong break I had.
Though it was nice to see my father and explore Europe a bit, I much prefer the tranquil, steady and comfortable life of rural France. Even though the Erasmus students love the nightlife of Spain, I would much rather to return to my house before 7 am each morning. I find France to be so much more fit to my lifestyle and mindset than that of Spain. I am at-home here…
When I haven’t been away on travels, I have taken advantage of the student atmosphere of Angers. I went out a few nights with my host brother Pierre-Etienne, while he was working in Angers for the summer, and I recently got together with my friend Elodie, who I met in Sevilla and is a current student here in Angers
This past weekend was the best one I’ve had yet. Because it was my Spanish friend, Nacho’s, birthday on Monday, we decided to celebrate the entire weekend. Friday, after the first day of classes, Betsy and I biked (well, I biked, she sat on the back tire rack) to my Belgian friend’s apartment and afterward headed downtown for the rest of the evening. On Saturday, Ludo, the Belgian, Nacho, Betsy, Nacho’s French friend Jojo, his Dad and I all drove about 30 minutes out of Angers to a vineyard and did a wine tasting. We tried about 8 different wines; red, white, sweet, dry, sparkling… and the winemaker himself explained to us the different grapes and steps in the wine-making process.
When we arrived home that evening, we enjoyed a candle-lit dinner in the garden with Jean, Christine, Pierre-Etienne and his girlfriend Marjorie. After dinner, we went out again, to celebrate Nacho’s birthday – again. Interestingly, we found a bar/discoclub that was built in an old chapel. Everything is still intact, expect instead of an altar, there’s a bar… and neon strobe lights… It’s surreal, but, actually, really cool
Well, I hope you’ve gotten a little taste of what I’ve been up to these last few weeks. As my life starts to calm down a bit and I have more time to relax, I’ll hopefully be able to update my posts more often.
I hope this message finds you well.
A plus tard,
Feel free to write or call me while I’m here:
33 Rue Parmentier
49000 Angers, France
+06 28 97 16 65
Vous me manquez – bisous!