I landed in Paris from Amsterdam at about 10:45 on Sunday, and went straight to the hotel by taxi. I felt like I was absolutely escaping from the airport because NO ONE asked for my passport or anything! I did not pass through French customs. The whole way to the hotel in the taxi I was looking over my shoulder like someone was going to be following me... I felt like a fugitive. Haha. I figured out a little bit later (as I had already expected) that I passed through customs in Amsterdam, and you only have to pass through a European Union country once... and then you can travel among them. I still thought that they were going to deport me or something.. haha.
For our first day (after I literally had not slept for about 36 hours .... for some reason I could NOT sleep on the plane...) they put us on a 2 and a half hour bus tour through Paris from 4-6:30 PM..... Everyone was falling asleep! It was a little bit ridiculous. Afterwards I got to know some of the kids from the program better and we all went out to eat at the cafe. It was very comforting just to eat and talk and get to know everyone. There are about a billion students here from Duke, a bit less than a billion from Cornell, 7 from Emory, and 7 from Tulane. About 60 or 65 in all. After dinner I did not have the energy to go exploring, so I absolutely passed out.
This morning we had our first informational meeting, met the EDUCO staff, and got a bunch of important documents. The staff seems very nice and helpful. We talked about getting a pass for the metro and getting a cell phone. I'm going to be getting a year-long metro pass and a year long cell phone subscription. Most of the kids are only here for the semester, so they only have to get a rechargeable cell and metro pass... for us year-long kids, it makes more financial sense to get a resident's pass.
We took the metro to get to the EDUCO center for the first time today, and it is so easy! I'm excited to learn my way around. The weather has also been absolutely BEAUTIFUL so far. It's been about 76 and sunny and it hasn't even been too too cold at night. Even for a Texan/Louisianan like me! Although my host family gasped in shock when I told them it was almost 50 degrees celsius in Texas this summer!! haha.
Which brings me to my host family! I took a taxi to 31 rue chanez today (with the nicest cab driver ever... who asked me if I was from Paris!! *best compliment everrr*) and my 10 year old host sister came to great me! I lugged my 50+ lb suitcase up to the 2nd floor (and the 2nd floor in Europe is actually an American's 3rd floor, because they count the ground floor as zero...bleh) and I got situated in my room! It is so adorable. As soon as I get all of my things arranged I will post pictures! Marion (ma soeur) chatted with me while we hung up and folded my clothes. I absolutely love her!! She reminds me so much of Alexandra, the girl I tutored for 2 years in New Orleans. I also met my host mom and dad who are très très gentilles. They are both lawyers, and I think they work a lot, but they are so kind and funny and welcoming. They told me to treat the house as if it was my own. I also met my older host sister who is studying in New York's boy friend. He is very nice and helpful. He helped me look up stuff about my bank account and find my stop on the metro and he's offered to help with my cell phone. Apparently he hangs around the house (and I think is staying here for a while?) even when Morgan isn't here.
I feel like I'm writing too much and being boring, but I want to give y'all a taste of my 1st few days here! Oh, by the way, people from Duke and Cornell think Y'all is a hilarious word. I've forgotten that being southern can be a novelty, since it's totally not at Tulane!! I also taught Marion and Francois Xavier (Morgan's boyfriend who I'm supposed to call FX or "eff ixx") that y'all was the only real English equivalent (in one word) to the french "Vous". It just means y'all. That's actually what we were taught in Texas. Yep. Y'all was taught in the classroom haha.
My host mom says that some of the people in the neighborhood want to set up a group and a little work for me so that I can do some English tutoring with the enfants and I told her YES PLEASE! A little extra monnaie and a little teaching experience sounds formidable!
Well... I'm going to try to skype for the 1st time tonight, and if it works, I would love to set up some skype dates! With the subscription that I'm going to need to get with my phone, I also get some international calling/texting, so hopefully that will work out! My host fam also thinks that I get free international calling to house phones in America with their house phone, so if you have a home number you want me to call, let me know!!
Tomorrow I have another informational meeting and then our first refresher French class. We'll be in orientations every day for the next 2 weeks before classes start... I still can't believe I'm here!! Leave me some love on facebook because I'm definitely missing all of you! No matter how wonderful a time I'm having, home is always in the back of my head. Hope y'all have enjoyed my first French blog post!! Miss you and love you! Pictures to come soon!