Je vais écrire aujourd’hui! (I am going to write today!) Scratch that. I’m writing now!
For the last week and a half, I’ve been living in my host family’s house in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Before I came to Paris, I was expecting to be living in a little apartment. While it is technically an apartment, my family’s house has a rather large downstairs, as well as a basement (mostly to store the wine) and an upstairs. My room here is actually larger than my bedroom at home! I have a housemate as well, another student in the same program, which is pretty awesome!
I had no idea what to expect, but thankfully, my host family is amazing! As I am just beginning to learn French, hearing them speak French has been, and will continue to be extremely helpful. They tell me the French translation to English words and vice versa, and help me to pronounce French words I am struggling with. I’m beginning to be able to pick out some words they are speaking in French, and I know it will keep getting better with time and practice.
You know I can’t write this without talking about food right? My host mom is an amazing cook. She feeds me way more often than she should, and it is always delicious French cooking. Just to make you drool, I’ll name of few of her delectable dishes. We have feasted on airy soufflé, crispy, yet moist croque monsieur, and authentic un gratin de jambon (look it up) made with biting bleu cheese (du fromage).
Speaking of cheese, (which we do a lot) the majority of cheese in the US doesn’t even compare to the cheese here. Yes, much of it is made with unpasteurized milk, but it is also much fresher. I always hated bleu cheese, but I tried it here on my baguette, and while incredibly strong in flavor I like it! Even my host family said that American bleu cheese is not very good! I guess I converted to the dark side. No really, Star Wars is extremely prevalent in Paris. They even have a Star Wars exhibit (read advertisement) in le Louvre!
Already, I have learned a great deal of French. My professor teaches differently than we are used to—self-described as the Scandinavian method of teaching languages. I’m sure it will pay off, as you would be hard-pressed to find a Swede or Norwegian who speaks less than three languages. I can already see that I am making progress, and her students in the past have had unbelievable success. She is all about learning to speak and listen, not just read and write, which makes all the difference. I probably know as much French after 1 week as my first 2 months of Spanish back in high school. Or should I say I need to remember that much by tomorrow morning. Studying obviously will play a role in that, so I’m going to get to it.
Find out if I pass my quiz in my next post!