Strasbourg: First Impressions

Bonjour from Strasbourg!

My flight landed yesterday morning, and then I had a long day at the airport waiting for my TGV train.  I ended up using my French skills to talk to a French couple, which was a huge confidence boost for me.  Also, back when I first started French classes in 7th grade, I assumed that I would never need to worry about the pronunciation of the alphabet?  I was totally wrong.  The French couple asked me about American slang that they noticed on a trip, and wanted me to spell it out.  So I guess that stupid catchy alphabet song did eventually pay off.

Thoughts on the TGV train: first of all, amazing how quickly I could get across the country.  Major props to the French on that.  However, it is slightly terrifying to pass another TGV train.  But overall, a good experience, the train was super comfortable and clean.

From there I took a bus to my Airbnb, which is a nice small apartment a bit outside of the city.  The people I’m living with, a woman and her daughter, have been very welcoming, and I’ve been able to practice a bit of my French with them as well.  They have a cat, which is a new experience for me since my family has always had dogs.  Last night the cat stood outside my door for several hours and stared at me, and this morning it pushed open my door so it could lay under my bed for about an hour.  Is this how cats always are?

This morning I headed into the city for the first time.  I went to a café for a pastry, and got the chance to speak to a few French people again, who were very understanding at my struggles to put together coherent sentences and just spoke slowly to me in French.  Then I wandered around for a bit and ended up taking a boat tour.  The information wasn’t exceptionally useful, but it was a great way to see different areas of the city, from the historic city center to the more modern section with the UN headquarters.

Tonight, my Airbnb hosts are taking me to go see the fireworks for Bastille Day!

Overall, I think it’s going well.  My French is definitely going to get significantly better.  I’m not always that confident about my ability to speak to people, but everyone has been so understanding and wonderful so far.  I can’t wait to see more of the city and start reaching out to people for my research!

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