Tuesday, August 30, 2011


At long last, here are the photos of my first week.
Well, if you have a facebook. And if you're my friend.


There you go. More to come. Oh, and videos. Lots of videos.

After One Week


I've already proven myself to be a terrible blogger. Perhaps blogging is a trait, because I didn't immediately want to blog things when I got here, I didn't even want to bother taking pictures. I just wanted to experience the awkwardness of exchange first-hand. I also wanted to sleep. So far, I've slept every single day past noon.

My first impressions of:

Boston Airport: I'm a little tired, a very big parking garage, I didn't get a pat down, c'est dommage.

The First Flight: Not long enough to remember to spend the flight time crunching french.

Washington Dulles: A little larger airport, forgot to try to buy a pocket dictionary, had no idea that rotary would be meeting me the moment I got off the plane, nonetheless have an entire tent village set up of tired exchange students lounging in an abandoned gate.

The earthquake that happened 10 minutes after I arrived: interesting. The other exchanger I met in Boston was walking with me to the restrooms and the entire building shuddered. We thought a plane had hit the terminal. (We made it to the bathroom.)

The layover in Dulles: long

The other rotary kids: Hilarious (especially the Canadians, and their Dirty French phrasebooks)

The internet: spotty

The flight: not bad. But I didn't sleep. I sat with an airplane blanket over my head for 4 hours, but I didn't sleep. I had a window seat, but in a fit of generosity, quickly lost it to a very nice lady that I ended up talking to for about an hour. She visits France every year with her husband, and is a dedicated francophile. We talked a lot about a lot of things, including airplane food and science.

The flight attendants: not young, not cute, but very informative and apologetic about the food.

My first viewing of Paris: Beautifully illuminated, creatively arranged, and out of reach.

The Eiffel Tower: Very very small and far away. Even with 7x zoom.

Charles de Gaulle Airport: The most confusing, splayed out, friendly, and french airport I've ever been too. With the longest, curviest, moving sidewalks ever. Also, in less than 3 minutes, a girl from Alabama who was also going on to Nice, and I were completely separated from the entire rotary group, and a little lost. We were trying to get to a connecting flight, what we found at the end of our directions was a small airplane terminal outside the airport, downstairs. It turns out you have to take a bus basically to a different airport. But apparently it's still called Charles de Gaulle.

The Layover: Really, really, really long. Eventually we met up with a bunch of other students. We thought we were lost, when in fact we were just more direct. Sent an email. It was funny, the only site that you didn't have to pay for, with the airport wifi, was google, and gmail. Quelle chance.

The Airport food: Wicked expensive, very yummy. I definitely doubted it, but the first croissant I had was the best, airiest croissant I've ever had.

First Croissant in France: the best, airiest croissant I've ever had. It was also very well timed for a post-transatlantic dinner- traveler. My stomach was confused but happy.

The flight to Nice: Finally! The Alabamian and I cozied into a smaller AirFrance airplane next to a young French teenager who was really tall but turned out to be 16. It was great! The Alabamian spoke very bad french, but I was having a great time with my first real language exchange, trying to explain to him what the two of us were doing, and translating for her what he was saying. Not that I understood everything, but I could get the message across. He was coming back from a vacation in Miami, where he went to amusement parks and such.

The old women in the stretcher across the aisle: very yellow, a little strange, where'd she get it

The flight: I thought "great I get to see all of France!!!" In reality: Everything was clouded (duh) and I was sleepy. However, once we got to the sea, the plane followed the coast at a low altitude for a while and it was magnificent. I got a little preview off what everything would look like in just a few minutes.

The baggage claim: Thank goodness my bags actually were checked straight to Nice.

The airport: I was immediately greeted by enthusiastic Rotarians plastered against the glass that they couldn't pass beyond. I passed through the doors, met the district Rotary officials, my family (who I recognized from photos from my host sisters facebook), and the families of the two other exchange students who were on the same flight.

My family: classy, very friendly, instantly likable, and understanding of my inability to understand everything they said. Oh, and they got me an Orangina right away!

The car ride from Nice to Hyères: Beautiful, but I ran out of things I could say with my mental capacity at the time. (AKA "Oui," "Non," "Un Peu,") It's amazing how all it takes to reduce 12 years of, albeit rudimentary French  class, to mere phrasebook utterances, is sudden immersion and jet lag. 

My Hometown: Balmy, palmy. 

My Home: Classy. See photos. 

My Host Brother: Not easy to understand, but very welcoming. 

My Host Sister's boyfriend: Even harder to understand, but I can tell he's cool, even for the French.

The dog: very tiny. very hilarious.  
Anyway, lots more happened, but this is getting ridiculous. So here's a video:  

More soon, if I can prove myself as one of those people who blog...