Thursday, October 23, 2014
The One Month Mark
I arrived in France on the 23rd of September. Since today is the 23rd of October, this means I've been living in France for one month now.
I still cannot believe that I am actually here. Every morning when I wake up I am so surprised to find myself in this place. When I was back in the US, I used to have dreams that I was in France. This has happened since the last time that I left. Every time that I would wake up from one of those dreams, I felt disappointed as my sleepy brain processed that it hadn't been real.
Life in France takes some adjustment, and there are areas that you would not even imagine would be a problem. But even with those changes, right now is the least stressed that I have felt in a while. Not to say that I don't worry about many of the same things that I worried about while I was back at home. I do still worry. Of course. It is me. But, I know how lucky I am to get to do this, and I don't want to waste this opportunity.
Right now the schools are on a two weeks' holiday for Toussaints giving me a chance to try out some new things. Over the past few days, I got to experience some pretty amazing parts of France.
For one, I went to the Château de Crussol in Saint Péray with some of the other assistants. The Château is the ruins of a castle at the top of a hill not too far from Valence. Even though I've called the place a hill, it is pretty high above the surrounding area. Let's just say that if you were trying to attack this place during the 13th century, you'd hardly have a chance of making it to the castle. There were moments while we were heading up to it where I doubted whether I would actually make it, and since I wasn't attacking the castle, there wasn't the added obstacle of arrows and whatever else people used to use to defend castles.
There was also a picnic involved in our day trip which is why there are donuts and beignets in the pictures above. We stopped by the market to pick up supplies, so we had a wonderful lunch involving sandwiches with cheese and ham, vegetables, apples, and wine. I'll let you guess which one of us decided that we needed to have a dessert as well.
The trip was the perfect way to start off the vacation. A beautiful, sunny day of adventure with a group of some of the best people I've had the pleasure to meet here. If that were the only thing I got to do, it would be more than enough.
Some of my other favorite moments from the break so far have been a Sunday brunch and exploring Chabeuil (the town where I teach). I've written before about how adorable Chabeuil is, so I won't keep repeating it. The middle and right pictures are from a church in Chabeuil.
Other highlights from the week
- Went to a church serve at a Protestant Church near my apartment. There's a Catholic Church even closer, but I thought a Catholic service in French might be more confusing than I could handle.
- Tried two new types of cheeses. My roommate and I have a list going on the fridge so we remember which ones that we've tried and liked. France has a lot of varieties, so the list should be long by the end of the year.
- Ate a duck burger. It is what is sounds like.
- Got my first card in the mail here. I was so happy today when I opened the box, and actually found something in there addressed to me. Thank you so much!
Although Valence has had an unusually warm and sunny fall so far, the temperatures have recently begun to drop. It's probably only dropped into the 50s today, but the wind makes it feel much worse. I've had people warn me about the strong winds that happen here, and I now understand what they are talking about. Walking to get postcards today, I was momentarily worried that the gusts might cause me to take flight. While Mary Poppins might be able to come and go when the wind changes, it probably wouldn't work out so well for me.
I am trying to convince myself that I like cold weather by reminding myself about scarves and boots and soup and hot chocolate. Unfortunately, I haven't been persuasive enough. It might require larger quantities of hot chocolate to fully convince myself.
Still, since I am so happy to be here, I'll be able to handle some cold weather in trade off for all the rest.
I'm looking forward to seeing what another month in France brings! Until later!