So this is the moment you've been waiting for...Even if you haven't, I have. Anyways, I finally land in Marseille, the weather is very similar to Syracuse hot and humid (ugh). I pick my luggage up and no host family to be seen until I see an IAU sign. Bummer, turns out to be the director but have no fear, she gets in direct contact with my host mother and five min later I'm introduced to Mme. Gimenez (Mme. G for short)!

She is of course steering a stroller with Elliot my 2 1/2 yr old host brother!! And boy is he adorable! He reminds me so much of my nephew Magnus because  they both have this unending stream of energy and excitement. It's heartwarming and extremely cute!  I'll talk more about him later in this post. So I meet my host mother and she is verrrry nice!  Mme. G helps me with my luggage and is very welcoming. Good sign so far. After 25min we finally arrive to the apartment and I had an idea of what the street looked like because I of course google mapped it. I live in the old center of Aix and it is gorgeous! So much history in its architecture, streets, food and culture. IT IS AMAZING to say the least, more will come about the city.  Once we arrive, M. Gimenez opens the door with a friendly smile. Right off the bat, I had a good feeling about him. He is very easy going, gentle, funny and kind. His wife is a little timid, but engaging, sweet, generous and kind as well. What a great family to be assigned to!! 

Just to remind everyone I am writing this post on at most 4 hours of sleep out of the 36hrs I've travelled sooo I am beyond tired but I wanted to record everything while it's fresh in my mind. 

As I am trying to scrape a few sentences together in French I realize I have forgotten practically everything I've learned or I was never that good at French to begin with. Either way, there were some communication barriers. I had to ask them and still have to ask them to repeat their sentences or to speak slower and when I try to speak  I stutter and don't form complete sentences because I can't think of the word I'm trying to say. Soo, basically this is what is to be expected on the first day and possibly the first couple weeks (I hope)! However, from the beginning of this day to the end of this day, I can say my comprehension and ability to speak has improved a little after spending a whole day around French and becoming more comfortable with my new environment. Another positive sign! I hope after a few days I no longer give them a confused and puzzled look when they speak to me haha. For example: Mme. G asked me if I had a maillot de bain (swimsuit) with me. And I was literally a deer caught in the headlights. Apparently my brain was not functioning because she had to say it in English lol. Finally, the light bulb went off, this was not the only time this has happened today they've tried to speak to me. Although, I was only running on 4hrs of sleep so it's completely acceptable to be muddled or confused. 

Word of advice though. When you don't understand or fully grasp what they're saying, just smile and laugh and it makes it better. I've done with multiple times and it has worked haha!

Okay this is the last thing about communication problems and mishaps but it's actually kind of funny. If you didn't know, I am going onto my 9th year of french so I should be a pro, right? That is a blatant no from what you have  previously read. My 2yr brother knows more french than I do and has a killer accent. Obviously this would be the case since he was born in Aix but still, a 2yr old is kicking my 9yrs of french ass. Embarrassing.  Also, trying to understand a 2 yr in English is hard enough but trying to understand a 2yr speaking French is almost impossible!! Good thing mothers have this natural intuition of understanding their children because she can practically translate every mumbled thing he says. She is my interpreter for this 2yr old haha! Like I said before, my comprehension has gotten better through out the day and I can understand a little more of his mumbled jumbled French. Another good sign! Lastly, did I mention how freaking adorable he is?! Well I'll be posting a pic so judge for yourself.

Sorry, I told you this was going to be a long post but it's highly informative and entertaining, I hope! Well today, I experienced my first French meal. I already had some expectations from what I've learned in my classes but nothing is the real thing until you experience it. This does not mean lunch or dinner was bad, it was enjoyable. This is what I had for lunch, it's really an eclectic variety: red kidney beans, black olives, sausage, cantaloupe, and toast with no butter. Not exactly the combo I would choose but it was fine to eat. All those were considered the entrée. Then came the cheese and fruit meal. I tried 4 different kinds: Camembert, Chèvre du fromage (goat cheese), Roquefort and Babel. Mind you they told me they have at least 200 kinds to try...Oy vey. I only really liked the Camembert, hey at least I tried.

Then for dinner, we went to a beach 10 min outside of Marseille. It was crowded and there were some naked people. Should've seen it coming but was surprised nonetheless. Anyways, we had a baguette sandwhich with jambon (ham), butter, salt, tomatoes and Comté cheese. It was simple but very good! The baguette lives to its name. It's like none other. An original French baguette!! Carbs, here I come! Overall, the meals were fine. I was gracious they fed me and were soo generous.

My host family is just amazing! They will let me make international phone calls, use their wi-fi (pronounced wee-fee) and I can make myself at home. 

Wait, how could I forget this? I have to explain what the apartment is like. First of all, it is wonderful! It's really charming and really ancient. The buildings were built during the middle ages...However, there are four floors and a basement. I live on the very top floor and have a huge bedroom and bathroom to myself. It's luxurious compared to typical European apartments and even college dorms! I have a place all to myself and it's really nice. I am very grateful and lucky again. Seems like luck is on my side for a period of time! The basement is where M. et Mme. G sleep. The first floor is Mme. G's office, the second floor is Elliot's floor, the third floor is the kitchen and living room and the fourth floor is me! I really like the place! They are considering of buying a house in the near future. That will be nice for them and I hope they get what they want because they are a nice, hard-working middle class family!

Thus far,this has been a successful and eventful first day. Have to add this in. My legs are killing me from all this exercise. Typical. Maybe the exercise will combat my weight gain from all this delicious food!

So this was everything about my host family and first encounters with them. The next post is going to be about Aix itself and like I said before it is AMAZING. Stay tuned for more. Pictures will be up asap. 


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