Where should I start?  At the beginning?  In medias res?  How about here:  I was born in California, moved with my military family every two to three years, graduated from Key West High School in Florida, and then left for college in Alabama.  Two years into my studies, I left the United States for the first time to visit my parents, who currently live in Okinawa, Japan.  While there, I travelled to a college in a neighboring city and tutored Japanese college students in English for three weeks, staying in an apartment by myself.  I discovered during my stay that I love seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning about new cultures.  In fact, I want to make a lifetime career out of travelling, teaching English if I can, working as a secret agent if I can’t, living in a lean-to if I may, or a manse if I must.  I will walk as far as my legs will carry me and pay someone else with pocket lint and empty promises to carry me once they won’t--these are my ultimatums for life, till death do us part.
     Which brings me to France.
     I have been preparing for this trip, along with a couple of others that will take place over the next six months, since the beginning of September, working with two French tutors four times a week and taking both an accelerated introductory and an accelerated intermediate level course over the past two semesters.  All this being said, I am all too aware of how unprepared I still am.  My common sense tells me that I cannot avoid seeming like a fool on at least a few occasions during my stay, and my experiences in Japan tell me that only a few such faux pas would be a miracle--there are some nuances of etiquette that textbooks just can’t teach.  I’ll try to wear my motley with a smile, though, and plan to be nothing but a respectful and grateful guest in the country that houses me.  That being said, living with a homestay does not mean that I plan to be a homebody.  I intend to live adventurously while in France and will record as many of my exploits as are appropriate and as time allows in the hopes that my imminent crash landing in Aix (metaphorically speaking) and subsequent record-keeping will pave the way for some future starry-eyed youth to have a much smoother transition into the life of the French.