Hmmm Brioude? What is there to say? I love it here! Of course there were hard times in the beginning....getting used to living alone (at first anyway), getting used to a new place, getting used to a small town, getting used to everyone and everything being French. But, I can honestly say that now and probably for the past two and half weeks, I am totally and completely acclimated! What I cannot say is that I was able to do this on my own. I have several kind people to thank, but most of all...Christine Fontes.
Originally assigned as merely my "contact person" or "life-line" here in France, she has quickly become my best friend whether she likes it or not (but I think she likes it). Now, everyone knows that I have several best friends so I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. If you already carried the title you haven't been stripped of it...don't worry. Hmmm what was I saying? Oh yeah...Christine...she's smart, very funny, loves stripes and nuts, hates dogs, and overall we speak the same language (in more ways than one...i.e. she's very good at English...I'm convinced that she speaks the language better than I do). Anyway from the first moment I saw her, I must have known a great friendship was in the works because when she picked me up from Brioude's little train station, I ran and gave her a big hug...I know it's not a very French thing to do, but I had to. I was so happy to finally have finished travelling and to have met someone who was finally going to help me get settled in! She has lovingly helped me with everything since I've been here (even figuring out how to use my gas stove), and I truly feel that I can talk to her about anything! I don't think I've ever become best friends with someone that fast before. It's only been something like a mere four weeks since we met, but she's like my sister :) Anyway, if Christine were reading this, she would probably tell me to stop talking about her so I will move on...
School...school has been great. The teachers are so nice to me and classes are going well I think (I hope so...don't really know what I'm doing). I love all of the English teachers especially, but everyone has been very welcoming and patient with me and my less than perfect French. One teacher even gave me a bike :) The students can misbehave sometimes, but I win them over eventually [come on...it's me :)]. So far in class I've used everything from Arcade Fire to The Devil Wears Prada to get the kids to speak/like English...sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't, but I'm trying and that's all I can do I guess.
Auvergne is so beautiful!!! I love when Christine lets me ride with her to Issoire or Le Puy (nearby towns) because I get to see the countryside and castles and lots of other cool stuff that I would never see at home. The food here is delicious...the wine is superb...and life just seems to be a little easier. I'm becoming more patient here which is something I really needed to learn. I love small town life because I am really never lost here...no there aren't as many distractions here as there are even in Columbia, but I'm learning to enjoy myself in simpler ways which is very good for me. Hugs and kisses to you all...and thanks for reading my stupid blog :)