Tag Archives: Family

Officially Not a Tourist

Last Friday I officially, (according to me) surpassed the label of “tourist” and I am now living in Paris rather than just visiting.

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Of course, that means I forget to take pictures of the major monument that I happen to be living by…

Oh hey there neighbor
Oh hey there neighbor!

Because it also happens that I’m living directly off of the Champs-Élysées, which is horrendously full of tourists all the time. They’re all there to see (and a very few make purchases in) all the designer stores. Louis Vuitton anyone? Yeah, not me. I usually walk pretty fast along that street because it’s always so crowded and uncomfortable.

Speaking of where I’m living… I’m in a tiny little apartment that has been supposedly handed down through my host mom’s family for generations. The floors creak when you move the tiniest bit and every room has the grand classic windows of your typical Parisian home. I love it!

My host mom’s vivacious personality has taken a little bit of getting used to. I was definitely overwhelmed the first few days because she likes to know everything that is going on with me. I’m not used to explaining every detail of my schedule! It’s also her first time hosting a student with the Sweet Briar program so she’s not quite sure how things work. Besides that she’s been really great to me, getting me to talk and correcting my grammar and pronunciation when necessary, making sure that I have everything I need, and that I like what we’re eating for dinner.

Regarding classes, we’ve been left to explore the city for the most part by Sweet Briar, since classes at the Sorbonne don’t start for over another week! Which means exploring the city and mapping out where all the free restrooms are… If you’ve ever been to Europe you know that a free restroom is like a holy grail. Most of the time they cost about 0.50 cents!

My expression when I found the first FREE bathroom.
My expression when I found the first FREE bathroom.
And my apprehension. They're free for a reason?
And my apprehension. They’re free for a reason? Gotta love those candid pictures.

We’ve had a few small classes, such as a class on current French politics (Interesting if you haven’t already taken a few classes on the subject!) and a very general, vague course on methodology for the courses we will take. For example, how to write a “dissertation” or a “commentaire-composé” for our classes at the Sorbonne. Thankfully we will have weekly tutorials at Sweet Briar since most of this “hypothetical” subject matter went right over my head.

Tomorrow, I think I’m finally going to visit a museum! But I’m definitely not a tourist anymore, I’m a student of French history, art, and literature according to my Student ID card. (Next time you see a cute French boy, tell him you study French literature -you might get a free drink**)

Technically not a tourist, but not by much
Technically not a tourist, but not by much

**Don’t actually do this.

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La vie à Tours

If you haven’t been reading my earlier posts I’ve been staying in Tours, France these past 2 weeks for an orientation of sorts, full of “intensive” French classes *cough*threehoursaday*cough* and well, lots of free time.

I know I mentioned my host family in an earlier post, but since that post, the family size has more than doubled! All five of their kids came back from vacation ranging from age 12 to age 20. I was sitting in my room when all of a sudden I heard them…

They're going to laugh at my French and ignore me and make fun of me.
Mother was right! They’re going to laugh at my French and ignore me and make fun of me.

The parents actually left for a date that evening, leaving us alone with the kids. It started off pretty awkward because they all spoke super fast and only with each other. But then the littlest boy told a joke and I laughed…

Their reaction to my laughter: The American understands us!
Their reaction to my laughter: The American understands us!

I think that was the moment when I won the respect of the eldest boy and he has since made the biggest effort to talk to me. I’m actually surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed talking to the kids. I think it’s because I’m very formal with the parents and choose my words carefully, but with the kids I can talk about everything from French YouTube stars to Mexican food!

So I’m actually kind of sad to be leaving this host family tomorrow because watching them all interact was both amusing and very enlightening and well, I’m going to miss having someone to talk to about “young” French culture.

Tomorrow, the group heads out for Paris, where I will be staying for the rest of the year! But before I go, I wanted to make a list of my favorite things about living in Tours.

1. Having a class in a room with a chandelier and sculpted walls.

..
No big deal.

 

2. Walking by buildings that are hundreds of years old every day and realizing that it’s completely normal for this city.

I think Rapunzel lives up there.
I think Rapunzel lives up there.

3. Switching in between French and English so easily you don’t even notice when you change.

I need this shirt.
This shirt expresses everything. Buy it here.

4. Having this be your walk home:

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5. And well, the tranquility. I’m probably going to miss the relatively laid-back atmosphere of Tours in comparison to Paris. Sometimes it’s just nice to relax 🙂

The next time I post I will finally be in Paris! Oh, and living next to the Arc de Triomphe! ❤

Don’t miss a single blog post of my entire adventure! Please subscribe (click Follow blog via email in the column on the right!) to receive this blog’s updates via email! Also, I love getting feedback so please comment!