On the right is a photo of my adorable host sister, "CANDY". I thought her happy/sleepy face was a good portrayal of my excitement and jetlag. Instead of taking a photo of myself, in which I looked like Medusa. Plus, her face here is kind of tranquil, and reminds me of Buddha.
My host family is amazing. They speak to me in French full-time save for a word or two. My mamie Francais is very helpful, and very welcoming. What's amazing is that I already understand maybe 75%-85% of what they are saying to me. Also, they understand me at least 60-85% of the time, which is a very indescribable feeling, but an amazing one.
When I think "Wow, I am saying french words and they understand me", I literally cannot believe it for two seconds, then get insecure and stop thinking about it.
Yesterday I arrived and was swept to a middle school classroom for students learning English. The teacher was cool, but he showed a bizarre video to the students that would definitely not fly in America. It was a clay-mation of a young Australian girl writing a middle-aged man in new york. (Letters from Mary and Max). Mary declares that babies are found in beer cans, and that she likes sweetened condensed milk, and something about her father liking to "play with dead birds" (taxidermy). Then the man proceeds to write about how he has many jobs, one being in a condom factory, and that he does not like the bible or God.
Can you say Woah? It's crazy how chill the teacher is about showing this. You know if your teacher in America showed this to you (especially in middle-school), that you would never ever see your teacher again. They wouldn't even live in the same country as you anymore. I like observing this difference, because I felt like it proves that as Americans, we are not as open-minded as we think we are. Even I admit that I would hesitate to let my child watch this, which makes me re-think my own views a little.
I took the placement test for French and I think it went OK. Save for a few words, and a few questions, I was pretty well off. I think I will get into the B1 level that I want, and if not I can whine about it in two weeks and have a chance to prove my abilities.
After our tests we (me and two other Americans) went with a guide around Montpellier. It was fab. This place is pretty modern compared to other parts of France, but there is still rich history here. We learned about Saint Roch who our guide called "Superman of Montpellier" (imagine that phrase with a French accent, it's better that way). He helped several people during the black plague, with studying medicine. Which leads us to the institut de medicine that we visited - supposedly the first school of medicine in Europe, which is very very competitive and contains a museum of anatomy. Oh, and a bunch of famous people studied there, but the only one I recall is Jean-Jacque Roulousson.
A pope used to live here, and he allowed for the construction of a medicine facility,but only under his roof.
We actually started in Place de comedie, which is a very popular and beautiful place, named such because there is an old opera house there (cool!). This is a barely-decent photo I took of the fountain in the middle of the square. What I weaned from the guide was that the females are the three graces, which I learned about in high school during my Greek mythology class. Pretty pretty! But I know, I need some less fuzzy photos. They will come, they will.
Now that you are very bored of reading like a page of text, (shame on you, reading is good for you, even if it's only my 3rd grade level blog!), I will give you a bunch of pictures of some of the streets I saw earlier. These are pretty, very European movie-esque streets that have close together walls. Okay, one more thing, I believe they were built so close together to stave off anticipated invaders back in the day. Not 100% on this but I think it's a for sure thing.