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.
I 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.