Being a Bolognesi
I have landed in France and I am currently getting over jet lag. While I was on my plane from Paris to Marseille (only about an hour), I saw some snow caped peaks through the clouds and I immediately was reminded of how excited I was when I flew into Chile. Now this part of the world is definitely different than Chile, but it looks similar from the plane.
When I landed, I was one of the first off of the plane because I sat in the sixth row. When I walked down the stairs, I saw many signs with IAU and when I approached the mass of IAU people I said "Bonjour Je m'appelle Patrick" and the first row of people said something in French and I assumed they were not there for me, then my host mom came up and said, in a thick french accent "Patrick?" (pronounced 'Puh-Treek') and I said oui! and we went to get my bag.
At this point I was very tired and was glad that she knew some english, which definitely made the first day easier. We grabbed my bags, said hello to a few other American students and left the airport. Seriously though, Marseille is like Willard Airport in Champaign. It is really small. There were one or two french commandos, gendarmes or whatever you want to call them, walking around the baggage claim, but you could tell that the small group of Americans did not seem to phase them.
From the airport, my host mom and housemate, Jean Michel, got into my host mom's Peugeot 207, a 5 door hatchback, and left to get her son who stayed the night at a friend's house the night before. We zoomed to the countryside and picked up her son, Yann. We then went to the house. This place is awesome. Kind of on a hill with a really good view of some small mountains or hills in the distance, and not too far from the center of town.
The house itself looks like it fell out of French magazine. The exterior is yellow with red wooden shutters. I will try to get some pictures up soon because it is hard for me to describe the house in words. Well, I am still going to try but you will get pictures soon. So anyway the house is two stories, four bedrooms, two bathrooms that I know of, but I am assuming that my host mom has one connected to her room, so I am really guessing three bathrooms.
Let me start more with the outside. We have one terrace-like area that is slightly elevated above my host mom's garden and yard. We live in a walled-in or gated area. We have one or two neighbors, and I think an apartment complex within the walls. The yard has a few trees in it. I don't know trees very well but they are trees that I have seen in the U.S. As a matter of fact our house is really closed in by trees. The house is really beautiful.
The inside is nice as well. The entire house is tiled, which I am guessing is Southern France thing. It isn't very cold here and it is morning in January, probably 40-50 degrees, so tile is appropriate for this weather. It's not like it is going to be -20 here like it is in illinois. So the inside of the house is very nice.
My host mom lived in Indonesia and India and has decorations from each place, some very cool Indiana Jones like decorations. There are two living rooms or 'salons' as they are called here. One of them is where the router is, so this is where I will be writing my blog posts from, but I still get some internet in my room.
Anyway the walls are about a foot thick, and that is why the internet is much better in this room. As far as I can tell, there is one TV in the house, but I suspect that my host mom has one as well. Anyway the TV is in the internet room.
We have another living room right next to the internet room and that room also functions as Marie's office (Marie is my host mom.) That room is connected to her library area that is connected to the laundry room. I can't remember if she has a dryer or not, I think she does but I guess we will see. Anyway we also have a kitchen (duh) which is very nice, not incredibly big, but not too small either. The kitchen is connected to our dining room. The upstairs is where we have our rooms and a bathroom.
I think that pretty much covers the house, like I said you will get pictures soon, but it is really nice! A side note, our neighbor has a Mazerati, so we will see if I can make friends with him and give it a spin.
Yesterday we came in picked rooms and then I took a shower. I was disgusting, kinda greasy hair (which was actually kind of awesome because it made the power part look even more powerful), I was sweaty and just plain nasty. I hopped in the shower then came to my room and set stuff up. I have some space for my clothes and a desk along with a pretty big bed (not as big as my queen back home, but not bad.) From there we ate lunch, Marie made Spaghetti Bolognese which was really good! We also had bread with Pate (idk how to spell it or add accents but it is pronounced Pah tay, it comes from a duck.)
After lunch I helped clean up, that's right mom I started my time here as a good boy. Then after about an hour Marie took us to centre ville to go to the tourisme office to get maps. After she took us there she left to go to her friend's grand opening to his new yoga studio. So my housemate and I discovered some of the city. He has been here before, so I let him lead the way. Like true men we found our way back without too much help from the map and we entered the house after figuring out the intricate lock system which consists of four locks with four different keys and an electronic combination, Marie must know what a big deal I am. Then I came inside and struggled to stay awake.
So I sent a couple emails then I finally gave in. It was 5:45ish and I decided to shut my red wooden shutters and close my blinds. My room was pitch black when I closed the door, I mean total darkness and my body essentially gave in, and I was fine with that. I slept til 2 am and I was worried about not adjusting properly. I went to the bathroom, got a drink and laid in my bed til about three, and that is when my body realized that I was still tired. I fell back asleep for about 5 and a half hours, thank God. So yes if you did the math, I slept for a little more than 13 hours and I am not ashamed of that.
I woke up today and opened the bathroom window and took a shower, after I turned off the water I was greeted by the nipple-hardening cold, but that didn't stop me from perfecting the power part (which is the name for my new haircut for those of you that don't know.) I came down to a note telling me to eat whatever I want if I wake up. Marie actually left that for us last night because she figured that we might wake up in the middle of the night hungry and thirsty.
I ate breakfast, which consisted of a bowl of cereal, a banana, bread with tangerine jam from Corsica, and bread with nutella. It was very good. I ate with my housemate and Marie. Marie is all about health which is good because I should be. I have a feeling that I will eat well, good food and a lot of different kinds of food.
So after breakfast I essentially sit down to write this. I think I might go with Marie today to pick up Yann, he stayed at a friend's house last night. I am just trying to see as much of the town as I can. I also have an open house later today where we get to meet with all of the different students, so that should be fun.
I feel like I got really lucky with the host family, Marie has been very good to me and seems to be well connected here in Aix. Anyway I am going to go do something now, idk what I am going to do yet but I will blog about it. I think I am going to have enough time to update this fairly regularly, but I will find out more about my schedule on monday.
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