I was going to blog last night but I was way too tired from jetlag. Everything is really wonderful though, and I'm really happy to be here.
Eric met me at the airport right away and brought me to their house, where I was offered espresso and a croissant before I could even sit down (I totally chose the right family), and Eric was very proud to tell me that they drink a lot of coffee. So that was good. The kids are really really nice. Juliette is 11 and plays on basketball team, so that's what she spends most of her time doing. Thomas is 14 and he's really nice, but I literally haven't had one full conversation with him in the 24 hours I've been here because, as Eric says, "Thomas has a computer addiction. He's a junkie and he needs help. Lise is 7, and I've spent the majority of my non-sleeping hours with her because she really likes to hang out with me, so I don't really have a choice, but 'm glad she likes me. She's apparently ranked number 1 in their region (whatever that means in this case) in gymnastics for her age group. Anyway, the girls are really entertaining and I'm definitely happy that I ended up au pairing for a family with such great kids.
The whole family speaks fluent English, even though Anne and Eric have really heavy French accents (the kids don't, and they're better at it in reverse order from how old they are). Even though Eric speaks really really good English, he can't open his mouth without the kids rolling their eyes and correcting him, which is really entertaining. I actually forgot that I was in France for a few hours yesterday because the kids speak such perfect English, and all of their toys and books are ones that exist in America, and their room is decked out in stuff from Ikea.
(Lise and Snowball in my kitchen).
(Snowball helping me figure out a game plan for Paris).
(Lise's favorite thing to do is wear my purse and pretend she's putting on my make up).
(Lise practicing gymnastics on the train).
(Lise, Juliette and me on our mini tour of Paris today).
They have two cats (one of whom is named Snowball even though he's half orange), and Lise has been following me into my apartment every chance she gets with one of the cats so that we can all play together (whether the cat wants to or not). The fact that I have my own "apartment" is really great too. It's downstairs, and I have a bedroom, bathroom with a shower, and a half-kitchen (refridgerator, sink, washing machine, table!). It's like a studio apartment, and it's a little less homey than my space in Bordeaux, but I was shocked that I actually have a partial kitchen, and the space is extremely generous, so that's good. I plan on making it a littler homier when I'm less exhausted.
Today, Anne, Lise and Juliette took me on a Metro test run to my language school, which is in St. Germain des Pres. I've used the Metro before, but I will always accept geography help, so that was really nice of them. Clamart is really close to Paris. It's a 10-15 minute walk to the train (it's not the RER, it's the Transilian, which I think is another train that goes from the outskirts into the city), and only a 7-minute ride to Gare Montparnasse, which is really awesome. And the Metro stop for my school, Sevres-Babylon, is really close to that, so it's pretty perfect. And the family is providing my transportation card (Metro, Transilian, buses, etc), so how cool is that?
I'm so happy to be back here even though I haven't really done anything French except drink espresso. But when we went on a walk around their neighborhood day, I remembered something that I had totally forgotten about -- that France smells like the perfect combination of pastries and cigarettes, and since I like the smell of both of these things, it was a nice reminder that I'm living somewhere really cool.
More soon! :)