Somehow, I did it. All of it. Everything, except one winter coat, which will have to be shipped, fit into my allotted luggage without exceeding the weight limit. I checked my bags and siphoned through security at Dulles International Airport without sustaining any injuries (physical, emotional, or otherwise). I proceeded through customs and collected my luggage easily when I arrived in Paris. By the time I finished carting my luggage on and off the tram to the railway station, my friend Caitlin already stood waiting for me. I even managed to have two full French conversations to obtain my train ticket to my final destination. Seventeen and a half hours after leaving my house, I finally made it to Tours, France.
My French father, Bernard, picked me up at the train station and brought me to the house he shares with his wife Colette. Built in the 1700s, the four-story home offers everything from fourteen-foot ceilings to WiFi and my own bedroom complete with courtyard and bathroom. This is going to be my home for the next three weeks? All this and a five-minute walk to school? Yes, I could very easily get used to living in France. My family here accommodates for pretty much all of my needs, including my vegetarian diet, which I certainly had a few qualms about. My French dad cooks some of the best tofu I’ve ever had.
All French students from HC, whether they study in Strasbourg or Dijon for the year, begin their year abroad in Tours at L’Institut de Touraine. The school is kind of like French boot camp. Early Monday morning, the professors talk with all new students and gage their French-speaking abilities. This evaluation, compiled with an hour-long test we completed online before arrival, allows them to place us in the appropriate level. Fortunately, I ended up in a level with three of my other friends. Each day, we have about five hours of class, as well as two hours for lunch. Approximately ten students make up my class, and any language but French is forbidden, though this rule is almost moot. Coming from all different countries like Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Spain and the United States, the students only share one common language. Luckily we haven’t had any drill sergeants yet, and with any luck, this won’t be a problem. Of course, if I can’t get my prepositions straight soon, one may just be in order
L’Institut de Touraine where I have classes everyday.