Bonjour France :)
12:00am - Turn 21! This was really tough ;)
1:00pm - Farewell lunch where I ordered my first drink! A cosmo, naturally :)
2:30pm – to Dulles airport. When I got in to the front of the check-in line, I weighed my bag and realized it was 51.5 pounds. The scale was right next to a large sign, which read: $50 for bags over 50 pounds. Yikes! Some quick re-arranging evened things out a bit, although I did end up having to carry-on more than I planed. Oh well. In the end, my two suitcases were 47 and 44 pounds. I swear I didn’t overpack! I really really tried to limit myself. I only brought one purse!!! Although, I guess I could’ve left a couple of the 8 pairs of shoes behind… and mom did say that 18 pairs of underwear was a bit excessive… or maybe over 2 liters of hair products was a little over the top? What can I say? I’m obviously going to have to hold a small garage sale (do they even do those in
3:00pm – finally got my boarding pass, dragged my 100 pounds of luggage over to security and headed for the currency exchange. I decided on 280 euros – well, actually I asked for 250, but the lady somehow convinced me to get 280 instead. Something about waived fees… Anyways, 280 euros cost me about $409. That’s a lot of money! A lot of my money – not even from mom and dad! I’m so nervous carrying it around. I suspect everyone around me of eyeing my bag (especially ‘cause it’s a long-johns ;) ) and I try to think as a pickpocket would. I saw one man counting his dough on the tram and then he just shoved it into his pocket. I hoped any pickpocketers would have noticed that as an easy target and would leave me alone!
3:30pm – I made it through security without a problem. Although, dad did get yelled at for trying to take pictures of me while I walked through. Apparently that’s not allowed? I said goodbye to mom and dad and headed for the terminal on my own. I stopped by starbucks and paid an exorbitant amount of money for a bottle of water and got change for a USA Today. I sat and read the paper and did the crossword… secretly watching the people around me and trying to figure out what they were doing on a flight to
4:30pm – I passed the time by people watching… The girl next to me was going to
4:45pm – I watched two little birdies eat some tortilla chips right by my gate – I can’t figure out how they got inside!!
5:00pm – Boarded the plane – a 767. HUGE! Seriously – like they have in the movies – economy class seats are grouped 2 – 5 – 2. SO many people in such a cramped space. I had an inner seat in the middle section. Quite possibly the most uncomfortable 6 hours of my life. The first class is incredible – the seats turn into beds at the touch of a button. Someday I want to try that out. Besides the cramped-ness, the flight was fine. The food was decent – good, even. Oh, and I ordered a screwdriver. I practically shoved my id in the flight attendant’s face, but even then he wouldn’t even look at it! I tried to fall asleep the entire time… and never succeeded. Oh well… sleep is overrated?
7:30am – Immigration. Basically a big, unorganized line. You show your passport. And they stamp it. That’s it!
8:00am – Customs. Aka, a hallway. They didn’t check anything. Didn’t require any forms. Didn’t look at my passport. Didn’t look in my bags. At first I thought I must’ve just sneaked out!! But, someone else confirmed that I had left the right way. I’m not sure what that was all about… and why everyone told me I should plan on 2 hours… but I’m just glad I didn’t have to wait forever!
8:30am – I got lost in CDG. I got on the wrong bus. And had 3 very confusing conversations with Parisians in French. I got 3 different answers (as far as I could understand!) and I finally ended up on what seemed to be the right bus. I found the first friendly face and hoped for the best. She was French, but coming back from visiting friends in the
9:00am – I finally found the train station, thanks to ma nouvelle amie francaise. I parked myself in the “salle d’attente” to wait for the train to arrive. Meanwhile, my friend Maddie (a fellow Cornellian) met up with me. A French boy, sitting across from me, struck up a conversation with me. He was friendly, although I have a feeling we didn’t communicate very well. For the majority of the conversation he thought I was traveling to Limognes, which I then interpreted as London, and from there it just got more muddled… but it was still nice to chat a bit with someone!
10:45am – The train ran a little late, about 20 minutes. By the time I finally got my luggage settled and found my seat, I absolutely crashed. I was disappointed in myself, because this was my first opportunity to actually see
1:45PM - The trip went by quickly. When we pulled into the station, there were a group of “IES-ers” already gathered. We were then guided to the taxi line. Taxis in
2:30pm – At this point, those of us who had arrived at IES, about 10 of us I’d guess, were absolutely wiped. We all crashed in one of the classrooms, luggage surrounding us, and all whipped out our laptops. It was quite a site, I’ll tell you. There’s wifi at the IES center so all of us were contentedly emailing and facebooking. Apparantly, you can take the girl out of
3:30pm – We were all famished, so we ventured out into the city. It was hard to take it all in – so much to see! I’m looking forward to the day when I know
4:30pm – We returned to the IES center very full and even more tired then when we left. Back to the laptops while we waited for everyone else to arrive.
5:30pm – The families started arriving and as every minute passed the number of students left at the IES decreased more and more. By about 6:30, I was still waiting there. We all had butterflies in our stomachs… wondering with each host mom that walked through the door if she was there for us. It was nervewracking!
6:45pm – My host mom arrived – Madame Bodet. I was SO nervous. On top of which I had my 100+ pounds of luggage to drag behind me. When I walked up to her she kissed me on both cheeks. And then we left! We took her car the 1km or so to her apartment and chatted the whole way – in French of course! She speaks very little English… so if I couldn’t come up with the words in French, there was nothing to fall back on! But, we seemed to communicate fairly well. She praised my speaking skills too, which of course made me more confident to speak even more.
7:00pm – I finally arrived at my new home. I met the rest of the family, well except for Monsieur Bodet who is in
8:00pm – My first family dinner :) We sat at the dining room table and dug in – noodles with cheese and ham, baguette, and salad (with some greenery I’d never seen before – a cross between clovers and spinach?). It was all very delicious!! We chatted while we ate and I did my best to understand their banter. I didn’t catch everything, although Madame Bodet was good about filling me in when she knew I wasn’t following. After the main course (if you will), we had cheese and fruit. Dessert, I guess? Either way, it was delicious and healthy and just what I wanted after so much airplane food!
9:00pm – I finished straightening up my room and got ready for bed… which is where I am now as I type this blog. Snuggled under my down comforter and ready to crash.
I’ve been up since 7:30am on Tuesday. It’s currently 10:06pm on Wednesday.