Postcards from Paris: Making a home at my homestay

Published 11:37 am Thursday, September 26, 2019

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From staff reports

PARIS – We are in week four of Asbury University’s Paris Semester and I’m happy to be settling into a rhythm in this exciting yet unfamiliar city.

Asbury’s Paris Semester provides the option to live with a homestay family in Paris. This opportunity allows students to be totally immersed in the French culture and get to know local people of faith. As a French major, doing a homestay was perfect for me.

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Upon arriving at the airport in Paris a few weeks ago, I was very anxious. I have a knack for being quite awful at navigating but was able to find friends, get a taxi and make my way to the apartment I would be living at for my homestay. The day was a blur, but I do distinctly remember asking my taxi driver, “I know this isn’t your job, but will you please help me get into my building?”

He kindly agreed to speak to the man through the intercom and, thanks to his help, I made it to the front door and my nerves were calmed as I met my homestay host.

From the first time I saw Paulette, she was family. Of course, there was an awkward air to begin with, but it faded fast. She sat me down, got me water and said, “C’est toi et moi et aussi le dictionnaire.” Which translates, “It’s you and me and also the dictionary.”

Paulette speaks no English, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The daily routine is nice. In the morning, I wake to a selection of breakfast items and instant coffee or tea. After that, I get dressed and I’m ready to take on the metro in all its glory; not before Paulette watches me leave, get safely on the elevator and says, “À ce soir,” or “See you tonight.” Upon my return in the evening, I know I can expect at least a three-course dinner with lots of bread. Needless to say, I am well fed. I know I am home when I open the door and hear, “Bonsoir! As-tu passé une bonne journée?” (Good evening! Did you have a good day?)

I am blessed to live here, fully immersed in not only the culture, but also in the life of someone I will forever call family. I love how she talks to her fish and tells me I’ve opened the windows wrong. I love that she’s constantly correcting my French to the extent that she makes me hold my tongue down to get the right sound.

I’m loving my experience on Asbury’s Paris Semester so far and look forward to the many more interactions I will be blessed with at my homestay and in the city while I’m here.