oh la la!
I ended up sitting at the terminal with some other friends from Skidmore which definitely helped pass the time and ease some worries. We boarded and left JFK on time. The flight was super empty so I had a whole row to myself. The flight was pretty good for a 6+ hour flight, we got dinner and breakfast and there were little TVs on the back of every seat. I can never sleep on planes, let alone when I am nervous or excited, so I have had a grand total of 30 minutes of sleep in the past 40 hours!
We landed early and took a train to the baggage claim terminal at Charles de Gaulle. First though, we had to go through customs which was just a bunch of tired people standing in line. Not super exciting, but there is a first time for everything! Our bags came super fast at the baggage claim and then IES (the study abroad program) was supposed to send a representative to greet us, but we couldn't find them. We then all split up and took taxis to our homestays!
After a bit of trouble, the taxi driver figured out what address I was trying to say to him and we headed off through early morning traffic into the city. Paris didn't seem real until we crossed over la Seine and I spotted la Tour Eiffel! It was just a glimpse of the top, but it was enough! I'm also pretty sure we drove past the Notre Dame Cathedral which was pretty cool to see.
As per usual, I was super nervous when we pulled up to the homestay. I punched in the access code my host family had given me, and after realizing the door pushed instead of pulled, I used the intercom and met my host mom! She helped me with my suitcases, which was a really good thing because let me tell you, 5 flights of stairs + a 46-pound suitcase is a recipe for disaster (let's just say there was a fair amount of heavy breathing involved). Side note: 1 bigger suitcase seems a whole lot easier to lug around than 2 smaller ones.
My host mom then gave me a tour of the house and offered me un café (a coffee) as we talked. My desk is my favorite part so far because of the huge window right beside it ... and also the fact that its right by the heater! Between the lack of sleep and nerves, my French is pretty much at the level of an elementary schooler (I replied yes when she asked what year in school I was and forgot the word for "far"). Then I met my host dad. Thankfully, it seems like they speak a little bit of English which is good, just in case. My host dad is a musician and I spotted a piano on the tour of the house. Right now he has classical music playing which is the most comforting thing in the world because my dad is also a musician!
some shelves to hold all the clothes I overpacked ...
I unpacked and texted some friends on the program to clear up what the plan is for tomorrow and after my host mom offered me a small lunch, or déjeuner, of pasta with olive oil and cheese. We talked some more and I want to say it's getting a little easier. I pretty much just laid low and rested while my host mom went out and my host dad worked. I did get to call my sister and dad (9 hour time differences are pretty difficult) which was nice. We had dinner at about 8:20 pm and it was a delicious vegetable stew with a side of bread (of course) and a salad. We finished with some yogurt which was way better than any yogurt I've had back home. I met the other girl living with us at dinner and host fam was nice enough to grant us one night of speaking in English to get to know each other! It's nice to be living with someone else my age.
Honestly, today has felt like some kind of a weird dream because I am exhausted and slightly overwhelmed. It really hasn't hit me yet that I am living in Paris ... and will be for the next 4 months.
French Word of the Day: loin (adv): far. Ma maison en Californie est très loin de Skidmore. My house in California is very far from Skidmore.