My arrival in Strasbourg. The begining of my 9 month stay.

Strasbourg Travel Blog

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Alright everyone here is the first of my updates. As you all know I now live in Strasbourg France. I absolutely love this city. It is so cute and old. All the buildings are a mixture of different colors. There is a river that runs through the city, and acts as a border between France and Germany. I find that if I am out walking as long as I can find the river I can never get lost because it runs right by my school. Then I know where to get pretty much anywhere from there.

My host mother’s name is Danielle Barthe. If I had to guess I would say she is in her upper 40’s. She is divorced and has 2 daughters. Both of her daughters are grown. The youngest is a year older than me so neither of them live at home. I met one of her daughters. She has come to the house a few times to have dinner and to visit with her mom. She is really nice. I love living with Danielle, but we are having some troubles because she does not speak any English. This would not be so bad, except that I don’t speak French very well. I can understand most of what she says, but I have a really hard time trying to say what I want. Right now it is really frustrating, but I know in the long run I will be grateful for it because I will probably learn better this way.

Danielle is also housing one other girl from a different program. Her name is Christina. She is from Dallas Texas. She is really nice and I like her a lot. She kind of gets on my nervous though. Because the apartment is not that big I have the extra bedroom and Christina lives up in the old maid’s quarters 3 floors above us. So in the evening after school she comes and hangs out in my room until dinner. This normally does not bother me. But my classes started the other day and I have homework. It is not a lot of homework, but I have to read 10 pages of Les Miserables in French, and that takes a long time because I have to look up a lot of the words in my dictionary. I don’t care if she wants to hang out in my room, but she really likes to talk. I can’t talk and read a French book at the same time. It is impossible. I don’t want to be rude and tell her to shut up though. Oh well, soon enough she will start getting homework. Right now she is taking intensive language courses at the University and so she does not have homework yet. Once the 2 weeks of those classes is over she will be placed in an actual school program where she will take regular courses. I think I can hold out until then. We shall see.

Anyway, I love the apartment we are in. It is really adorable. Eventually I will get pictures out to all of you. I live about a 4 minute walk to the school, which is really great because I get to sleep in. We are on the second floor (In France that means I am on the 3rd floor). They have a ground floor, then 1st, 2nd, etc. There is a small kitchen and dining room where we usually eat, then a more formal dining room. We only eat there when there is company over. There is Danielle’s room, but I don’t really go in there. It is not really a bedroom. She sleeps in the living room on the pull out couch, I am not really sure what is up with that, but I got the impression that this is where she has always slept so I did not kick her out of her room or anything. But she said we can sit in there and read or whatever, but I just feel that it would be an invasion of her privacy so I don’t go in there. The three of us share a bathroom, I shower at night so that we can all have enough hot water. Then there is my room.

I love my room. It is huge. I have a queen size bed, a vanity (which is really cool because I have never had one before and I have always liked them) 2 bookshelves, 2 dressers, 2 lamp tables, and still plenty of room to walk around. It is awesome. I also love the décor of my room. It is not fancy or anything, but it is really really bright. Two of the walls are bright pink, and the other two are bright purple. All the furniture is bright yellow, and the bedspread is neon blue on one side and neon green on the other. It is the most awesome color combination. Then I have this large window that I can open up and it looks out over a bunch of rooftops. It is actually really beautiful. At night the moon shines right through my window and it has been a full moon for the last couple nights.

The weather here has been really great. For the first couple days I have been here I would have to guess that it has been in the 80’s with a mild humidity. I notice the humidity, but it was not really enough to complain about. Then there has been a constant breeze that made everything just perfect. The best part though was yesterday. Yesterday in the late afternoon around 4 we had a big storm. It was so exciting. There was all kinds of loud thunder and lightning, it was pouring rain and the wind was blowing like crazy. I loved it. I just sat there and stared out the window at it. But today it is nice and sunny again. It is a little cooler than it has been, but still very nice. From what I understand it should be like this until about the beginning of November. Then it will start getting colder. February is supposed to be the worst part of winter here. I can’t wait. I need to get an umbrella. I usually don’t use one, but I am carrying my laptop back and forth from my home to the school and I just don’t want to risk ruining it.

So, today is my third day of classes. So far it all seems to be going well. On Mondays and Wednesdays I have Junior Language Usage it is a French language class that is supposed to focus on grammar. I have had the class twice now and I am a little nervous about it, but we shall see how it goes, I really need this class. I also have Human Rights in the European Union. So far I really like this class. We have two teachers in there and they work in the Court of Human Rights just down the street from our school. I find human rights topics really interesting so I am looking forward to this class. Then I have an Intro to French Literature. I am not sure what I think about this class yet because it is being taught in French and I only understanding about 2/3 of what is being said in class. I can read the books as long as I have my dictionary. I really want to take this class so I think I am going to give it a couple weeks and then decide if I need to drop out or not. We are reading Les Miserables (it is a very popular musical) and it is one of my absolute favorite stories. I have the CD and I listen to it all the time. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Art of Romanticism. In that class we are basically looking at paintings and stuff. I don’t really know much about it, but it will take care of my fine arts credits and we have a 3 day study trip to Paris. I am looking forward to that. Then I have Economic Policies of the European Union. I am taking that because it will count towards my major. I also find economics an interesting topic. Then I am taking Mass Media Policies. I am really excited for that class. I am taking it because I thought it sounded like it would be really interesting and I also chose it because the woman who is teaching it speaks very good English and I can understand because she does not have a thick accent. I know that sounds like a weird reason to pick a class, but you just don’t understand how important it is until you are straining to understand what your teacher is saying, even though we are speaking the same language.

Well that is what has been going on so far. Things are just a little bit strange right now. I think it will take a few more weeks to get used to everything.
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photo by: Sweetski