by Joy Mason, Greenheart Travel Language School participant
I arrived in Antibes, France late last night and was picked up by Monsieur Pravettoni. This morning, he drove me to my first day of French school!
We went on a tour of Antibes today—I zoned out during part of the tour, because it was all just too much français to take in. I realized last night when I got here that my brain is going to have to work non-stop for the next three weeks to get by. At least, it’ll have to work non-stop in class and at the house, but with the other students, not so much. Unfortunately, they all speak English, and no matter how hard I try to speak French (and, granted, at this point my French is pretty bad and takes a long time to listen to), they keep switching into English. Only two of them are from English-speaking countries (the UK), so I think the rest just find speaking English as sort of novelty.
I came back to the Pravettoni’s house and we had dinner. It was really good: Mexican food! The two boys said that the food was “too strong,” but I liked it a lot. After dinner, the two boys, the mother, and I played cards, the game called “Presidents.”
I like this family a lot! Pierre, Isabelle, Alexandre, and Anthony obviously like each other a lot, and that’s really cool. It’s the kind of family where everyone is comfortable with themselves and with each other, so they’re comfortable with those outside their family, too.
Tonight, I went Nordic walking with my French host mother. It was pretty fun, actually. We started at the Plage de Salis, and walked all the way up to the top of the Cap d’Antibes, which has one of the most beautiful views ever. We walked up through the woods, and down along the waterfront. The water is SO blue, and the trees are tall and green, and the flowers are vibrantly colored, and the clouds are white…Antibes is one of those beautiful beach places.
I saw an old-style sailing ship on the water, and when attempting to tell Isabelle about it, I said “J’ai vu un bateau, un grand bateau, avec les voiles, comme dans Pirates of the Caribbean.” I think I sounded a little insane. Also, on this Nordic walk, there was the young daughter of the instructor, and at one point, I asked her what a certain word was. She eventually just said, “I don’t know,” although I think the problem was less with her knowledge of the word for “sneeze” and more with my method of questioning.
I forgot to say that yesterday, I helped the two boys with their bac. The bac is a big deal in France, and it’s kind of cool to have seen students take it. They took the bac every day until today, and today they took the English portion of it. Last night I helped them study for it!
I went to the beach today with all of my new friends! Two Turkish students, one British and three Brazilians, and me: all sorts of nationalities, which is great. And my Turkish friend, Emil, insists on us speaking French most of the time, which is also great. While at the beach, sometimes it took a double-take for me to know whether a sunbather was a man or a woman: just because s/he wasn’t wearing a shirt didn’t mean s/he was a man, and just because s/he had a bikini-like bottom didn’t mean s/he was a woman.
More adventures to follow…