Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Figuring out my way around the airport in Paris turned out to be much easier than I thought, and if you yourself are traveling abroad and curious if the signs will also be translated in English......Have no fear because they are! Making my way through customs one last time before seeing my love I wondered if things would be just as they were in California when we were together. It's crazy to think we have been together for 5 months, more than half of it was through the internet, and now we are moving in together. I have never moved this fast in my life! It gave me an unsettling feeling to think about but as soon as I saw him once I walked through the gate, I knew I made the right decision. Being able to hug and kiss him after such a long time apart made it well worth the wait, and the rash life change. As I looked around on the drive, I noticed just about everything was different, except, they do drive on the same side of the street as we do, that was one thing I wondered. This was a whole new world, the cars (much smaller, motorcycles and scooters everywhere), the signs (in kilometers), even the streets were different. I saw the speed limit was 110 and immediately I was already asking Thomas 100 questions about his country and converting the metric system so I could understand it. American please!? After an already culture shocking drive to the house we arrived to his Grandparents house ( my new place to call home). We parked the car and walked up stairs from the garage to the first floor. This house was beautiful and nothing like I expected. It smelled of delicious food and everything was made of stone. His Grandparents greeted us at the top of the stairs with a kiss kiss on each cheek, and I practiced my little french that I could remember. "Bonjour, Je m'appelle Alex." then I wanted to tell them "thank you so much for opening your home to me", but clearly that's a little beyond my level with the language thus far. So instead I said " merci beacoup" and asked Thomas to translate the rest. They had lunch prepared so we directly went to the kitchen to eat. In my house lunch was either a "fend for yourself" type of thing, or something light like hot-dogs and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Now, I'm not going to lie and tell you I remember exactly what we ate that first day, especially with the number of amazing meals his grandmother has prepared since, but I can tell you what our typical lunches were on the daily. Lunch was always between the hour of 12:00 pm-1:00 pm (or in France 12:00-13:00) and there is ALWAYS fresh baguette and a bottle of wine. They usually started with a few appetizers such as cherry tomatoes, mixed nuts, fois gras, paté, and/or olives. Just to give you a few examples. Then its time for the main course, very few times does she cook the same thing twice unless its requested, but no matter what it was I insisted keeping an open mind and to try everything! After the main course, it was then time for the salad. Yes, in France the salad comes after the meal and there is not the option to smother it in Ranch dressing, because it does not exist here. Balsamic Vinaigrette it is!! At this point it gets difficult to continue eating (especially if your new here, like myself) but we weren't finished yet. After the salad it's time for the cheese, but not the kinds of cheese I recognized. Where was the cream cheese, or American cheese at? As I said before I really tried to keep an open mind when it came to trying new things, so even though I wasn't a huge fan of cheese in USA, I decided to try a little bit of each kind. Turns out I am NOT a fan of cheese in France as well, but at least I can say I tried. After everyone had their fix of cheese, his grandmother put a huge basket of fresh fruit on the table. We had apples, oranges, bananas, kiwis, and a variety of different grapes. Just when you think it's done there is one final thing that is customary in France, and that's to end with a very tiny, yet strong, cup of coffee. After all was said and done, the jet lag was really starting to kick in. It was easy to fall asleep after all of that traveling and consuming what felt like a Thanksgiving feast. Getting my sleeping schedule normal with the rest of the country didn't take me longer than a day, and once I had my first full day in France I knew exactly what I wanted to see first. The Eiffel Tower!