My First Glimpse of Angers

Rebecca Myers - CIDEF, Angers, France 


My eyes popped opened as I heard a strange noise, an alarm clock whose sound I did not recognize. I did not know this bedroom, the light coming in from the window, or the walls. I did not dare think about what I had just been through in the past thirteen hours; I had traveled three thousand miles to Angers, France. I had endured an eight-hour plane ride, struggled to buy myself a train ticket from Paris to my final destination, I had been picked up and driven to a new house by my new French family, and I had just awoken from a nap in my new bedroom. Shoot, I reminded myself, don't think about it. Just get up. I knew that if I spent the time to soak it all in, I might not dare move from my bed.

I walked through the strange hall and down the cold, white marble stairs to the living area of the house, where my host family was preparing dinner. It was a fantastic late Sunday afternoon and the sun was still beaming down on the patio. Sit down, sit down, I was encouraged by my host parents. I sat, and I looked all about me at my new home, trying not to stare. The back yard was spectacular- who knew that in the middle of a large city there would be actual back yards with trees, gardens, grass, and...a pool?! Sweet! I thought to myself, we have a pool! Dinner was soon started and I was served a fresh caprese salad, with tomatoes no doubt from the garden, a green salad, grilled marinated steak cooked medium-rare served with rosé wine from the Loire Valley, a real French baguette with Brie and Roquefort cheeses, and fruit for dessert. I wondered if this was how we would eat each night. It was.

The next morning I woke up after a refreshing nights rest. I had no particular plan of action for my first day in Angers. I got ready and went downstairs for breakfast. My host mom was already in the kitchen, having her morning coffee. I had un café with toast for breakfast; nothing too heavy in the morning for my new "French" self. Still getting acquainted with a native French speaker, we spent breakfast conversing with plenty of comment's (what's) and encore une fois, s'il vous plait's (one more time, please's) on my part. After breakfast I ventured out for my first walk around my new city, map clutched in hand.

RebeccaI spent that entire late morning and afternoon exploring Angers. My first surprise came at the end of the main road, the Chateau d'Angers (the Angers Castle)! I tried to act nonchalant as I continued walking along the sidewalk, as if it were normal for me to stumble upon a castle like that in Michigan. After giving in and gawking at this extraordinary sight, I happened upon a crêperie where I had a mouthwatering galette. Then I proceeded down the old, narrow cobblestone streets where I came upon yet another surprise: a magnificent cathedral looking down a long flight of cobblestone steps to a fountain. It was in this park at the base of the cathedral where I sat down and wrote my first journal entry. All of this was just a glimpse into what my new life would be like in Angers, France. I had no idea that things could get better than that first day, but they did.