Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Joe-8 Host Family

If, before I came to Montpellier, I had made a list of things that I was worried about, how my host family would be would have been number 1. That was my major concern as I sat in the train station in Paris waiting for the train to come. Upon arriving in Montpellier, we were greeted by the host families. My host family is really not a family. There is the host mother Pamela, an American citizen who has lived overseas for some time, having raised her children in London and in France. She is the person in the apartment that I could speak English to so she was the only person I really communicated.
The first thing she did was walk with me up to her apartment which was about a ten minute walk up past the Comedie. There we went through an alley to the building where I climbed two flights of stairs and a stairwell to get to the apartment. The two of us arrived at shortly after eight and it was to a full crowd. Pamela hosts students all year round, including French students who live here for about nine months of the year to go to school. At the table was Pamela’s boyfriend Patrick, the four French students, Amelie, a 16 year old girl who played the piano a lot, Americ, a 16 year old boy who seemed to have a bit of a wild streak, Quentin (also 16), another student whose name I never caught, and Jeffery, a construction worker who spent a few nights. There was also a cat, named Tequila. I walked in and joined them in dinner.
After dinner I was taken to my room. My room is off down the hall with a window to the terrace. It has a closet, a dresser, a single bed, a chair with a lamp, a desk and a small bookcase. It was a small but comfortable room (when the window was open) where a spent a large amount of time. I quickly put my bags down and then went out and had two beers with Jeffrey. Afterwards about 10 pm I went to my bed, quickly changed and went to bed.
Everyday I woke between 8:30-9 am and took a quick shower. I would go to the IMLS. Sometime after lunch I would head on back and go to my room. I would often grab something to drink and a baguette on the way and snack on them in my room. I would get on my computer, read the assignment or work on a blog or paper while I waited to dinner. I spent many an hour in that chair sitting comfortably.
Dinners where very varied with a meat like turkey on skewers, pork chops, hamburgers, breaded chicken, fish, and even chicken nuggets as a main dish. Served with it would be a starch like rice or pasta, as well as a vegetable as well as a baguette. Before though there would be a starter, which would be deli meat, tomatoes and lettuce. After dinner there was a dessert, usually a piece of fruit or a cookie. The dinner process was started at about 7:30 on everyday but Sunday when it would start at 8:00. Pamela would call for us to set the table. It is much more challenging to set the table when the instructions are given in a language you do not understand. I would watch the other students to see how many plates they were taking and then work off of that number. After dinner we were responsible for clearing the table. I would generally be the first person finished as they talked in French during the meals and I would clear everything that they were finished with. Afterwards I would go out for the evening, go for a walk, or go back to my room for the evening. Pamela was very kind and allowed me to call home pretty much whenever I wanted too so I was able to keep in touch with my family.

Here is a picture of a my clothes on the line drying as there are no drying machine in the household

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