PS: I forgot to mention that all the cars are stick-shift. Add to the intensity factor.
Today was my first day at school, and I can happily say that I didn’t get lost. However, we were only there two hours and we were only in two rooms. Still. Baby steps. I find that I feel very much like a small child here…I need help with so many routine things like using the microwave(the accomplishment of the day) and I have the grammar and vocabulary of a three-year old. Thank heavens for nice people who help the foreign kids! To everyone still in highschool: be really really nice to exchange students. Talk slowly, act things out. Let them follow you around like lost sheep. They are exhausted from trying to adapt a different language, eating style, sleeping style, and trying to be friendly and happy at all times. And not get lost.
Tomorrow we are supposed to show up in sport clothes with a pen and paper. I’m a little afraid to find out what we’re going to do. Marianne says boot camp. Har har. I hope not! I don’t know how all these young people can still breathe; they smoke like chimneys, like chimneys on fire! The smoking age here is 16, and a lot of people, young and old, smoke. And if they’re not smoking cigarettes, they’re drinking or smoking hookah. Oh la la.After all this, I went with a friend of Fezzy’s, Leila, to mass in a chapel in a large house where poor and older people live. Leila is from Lebanon, and is very ecumenical; she goes to Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox services. She is going to take me to the Protestant church Sunday. I was so happy to see some other Christians, and they were so very kind to me! The priest even introduced me to the group during the service and explained that he was going to speak more slowly than normal for me. I understood a little; I know the reading had to do with Jesus, boats, and fishing. That leaves a lot to choose from, but I had an idea. Leila helped me with the different song books and liturgies, and how to take communion. They also pass the peace here, with many kisses. Two of the priests decided to be American and gave me hugs instead. It made me realize that I hadn’t been hugged since I got here, and I appreciated it. I think church will be a great thing not only for my spirit, but for my French; seeing words written while they’re spoken is helpful, plus I can guess at a lot of words because it’s a familiar text in English. For instance, I know we said the Lord’s prayer and Psalm 23 even though I didn’t know most of the words. I am so glad to be able to go to church; it’s very comforting