Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bienvenue France!

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!

6 comments:

Nick K said...

Michel, you also know how to say "uhn-huh-huh." Remember as I told you, that expression is essentially as good as currency in France. They all say it. All the time. Don't be afraid to use it.

brady said...

Sure-fire way to fit in? Manpris. Just give them a try, Michel. Just give them a try.

Carmen said...

Carmen says,
Isaw that Joe Joe is JE JE in french and Sawyer is Chair and I can't even pronounce my name... that is suprising since my Daddy got it in France....He thought it was pretty

Belva said...

Great to hear from you and excited to read what is next! We'll be sharing tonight in Church and I'm glad to have fresh news! We talk to Jimmy from time to time, and he also shares the latest, including pics of Sawyer. We are praying for you.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

I totally forgot your great advice Nick! I'll try and remember that one for all of my interactions this week.

Not a single manpri sighting yet, Brady. Could have something to do with the sub-zero temps and snow...

Lisa said...

I loved being able to visualize your new place, and know that you are adjusting well to your new home. Glad the shopping went well. Sounds like fun to me! Love you all.