We’ve arrived, and are now citizens of the republic of France (I have no idea whether or not France is actually a republic, just thought it sounded nice). We have an apartment, transportation, a day care, and a job (sort of - language students).
Our apartment is nice, 2 bedrooms, an office, bathroom, simple but decent kitchen, and living room. It’s on the fourth floor of a tower, so we often get to meet people in the elevator. So far, they’ve all spoken French only. Either they don’t know, or won’t speak English. Since our French vocabulary is pretty much limited to “hello, thank you, goodbye, good night, I don’t know, and I don’t speak French,” it’s made for some fun interactions over three days, especially since we try not to say the last one. We’ve done our best to blend in with our dress and actions, and have apparently done a good job because people have no problem coming up to us and rocking off a list of thoughts and questions in French. We listen intently, and then choose carefully our response: “merci” (thank you) or “ah”. Sometimes “au revoir!”
Today was our first day of French class. No big surprise, I managed to learn French words for both ‘fart’ and ‘butt’ on the same day. Who knew they’d correspond with letters of the alphabet when simply arranged? Also, today was the fateful day of receiving my French name. Not like in high school foreign language when we could choose a name, but like in real life when they hear my American name and then pronounce it in French... that’s right, I’m Michelle now. Actually spelled Michel. I tried to protest, and may still try to find a loophole in which to get an alternate pronunciation, but for now it seems to have stuck. Michel I shall be.
We’re told tomorrow the sales start. Weirdest thing, in France shops simply aren’t allowed to have sales except twice a year. So tomorrow is sort of like the American Black Friday, except that it’s the ONLY time (plus once in the summer) that ANYTHING in the country is on sale. Great, we just arrived, and now everyone says we need to go buy all of our supplies/furniture/electronics tomorrow!
Thanks for your prayers. The transition has been better than we expected. We’re pretty well adjusted to the time, the people, the weather, and our new home. It’s our first time to ever live in an apartment, and to be one that looks out over a city of over 2 million, we thought it would be a major life shift, but to our surprise, it feels like home.
We’ll be back soon with more early observations of our new culture. Au revoir!