The cool March air surrounded me as I got off the plane at the Charles d’Jule airport. Never had I been so excited to be on a school trip than I had been when I took my first steps onto foreign soils. Though my adventure was just approaching, thinking about the six day family stay made me uneasy. Contemplating all of the conversations I would have with my French host family, in a language so different to me, sent butterflies to my stomach. I had been taking French language classes for two years, but being surrounded by it spoken so fluently reduced me the use of my French to English dictionary.
Jordan, my host brother, picked me up from the train station with his girlfriend wrapped around his arm. The greetings where short, the goodbyes nonchalant, and Madame Russenberger, sent me off with the strange boy and girl.
I tagged along growing tired from the weight of my bags, following Jordan and his girlfriend through the dark cobble stoned avenues. They displayed their affection in ways that were inappropriate for the streets of the U.S, but acceptable to the dark alleys of France. Long after, Jordan’s girlfriend waved us off and I was alone with him for the first time since we’d met. Surprisingly the ride was silent though I had many questions to ask.
First laying my eyes upon their cottage styled home was one of the most memorable parts of my trip. Their home was like nothing I had expected: it was charming and lovely, which are both two overused words to describe nice gentlemen and hand crafted silver wear, but these were the only two words that came to my mind when describing a house of this stature. I was escorted to my room after dinner, two lamps sat on a small table on either side of the bed. A grand armoire covered almost the entire left wall while a little chair sat near the back.
For six days I stayed in the room, staring out the window onto the acres of green pastures, or fiddling around with the magazines I brought from home. Never had I felt so lonely in a house full of people. Besides going to school with him the second day, I saw Jordan five other times, which were at family dinner each night. Most nights I cried myself to sleep with homesickness, the others I just stared at the ceiling until late hours. Although Jordan was just across the hall, I felt like an only child living. My host parents tried very hard to accommodate me, and take me places whenever they had spare time, but I could tell I was a terrible inconvenience.
Although I had a trying experience, I learned so much culture from just observing the way they lived. By the time I left their house they had taught me more in those six days than Madame Russenberger had taught me in two years. In hindsight I see that they didn’t lock me away in that room, but that I refused to leave the room, and that I made the least I could have out of that beautiful opportunity. When I had first left their home and was reunited with my fellow classmates I could not have been more relieved, but now I would do anything to go back and spend another week with Jordan and his generous family.
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