Three weeks ago we arrived here at our new home in France. What could we say about the move?
First it is overwhelming to move from a town of 7 800 to a city of well over 12 000 000, that’s 12 million. Thankfully, for now, we are a bit out of the city for language school in a town called Massy. Population 40 000. That population is in roughly 3.5 square miles. Plymouth’s population of 7 800 is within 4.1 square miles. That means there are a bunch of people here in a pretty small space. Even with that dense population there are quite a few parks that we have found for the girls to run and unwind after a hard day at school.
Our apartment is very nice for language school and we have slowly but surely been making our home. The first thing we quickly realized is that the bed that was here for the furnished part of our apartment was going to be far to small to meet our needs. So we made our first trip to IKEA where we muddled through ordering the biggest bed that IKEA sells. It arrived two weeks later and we assembled it in record time and slept soundly that night.
One of the hardest things that I have found is shopping for groceries in a foreign language. First things aren’t called the same thing and things aren’t in the same spot. One day I walked to the Hyper Marche to find five items. After wondering for over 30 minutes I found two items and decided that was enough. Many would say that was not a passing grade when it comes to shopping but for me I thought at least I found two things. We are also trying to figure out how to shop for a family of 4 + 1 while here. It means almost daily trips to the small store near us to pick up what we forgot or couldn’t find the day before.
Language school is in full swing with both Raeni and I attend 5 hours a day of school where we attempt to drink from the fire hose and then spend hours in the books each night. The good news is we have two days on, one day off, two days on and two days off. Off is probably not the right word because every moment we interact with our community we are learning or at least attempting to learn. As we walk to school each morning, lunch and afternoon; the friendly crossing guard helps us to communicate with him and questions us about life. At the bakery (boulanger) I asked for a pain de chocolate, she said we don’t have chocolate here only chocolat. The difference is the t at the end of the word is not pronounced and both of the os say O. So she at least was able to laugh with us as we bought our bread and treats. Please pray for our brains to begin to make connections between words and meanings and our ears to hear sounds that we haven’t heard before. Pray also that our tongues would move in new ways to speak correctly. A few of our neighbor ladies have been conversing with us when we cross their paths. Conversing is a strong word. They say things, we smile, they smile, say things louder, we say things that make no sense they smile and then we say goodbye. Soon (probably not soon) we will be able to tell them the answer to their questions.
Fayth and Hannah seem to be adjusting fairly well to the move around the world. There have been hard days and fun days. We have had the great opportunity to head into the heart of Paris a few times and see the beauty that is the city. We spent last Saturday (samedi) in line to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower was very cold but the view from the top was epic. It is nice to be able to see things that we have only seen in books. School for the girls is very rigid but they both seem to be doing fairly well. Both are coming home with marbles given by the teacher for knowing the right words and saying things in French. So at least they have that going for them.
Lastly we have been joined by our first intern here in with ENvision Paris. Kala Auch arrived last Thursday to help us adjust and help keep us a bit sane. She helps with the girls while we are doing homework and will be helping out with some things at Trinity-International Church starting next week. Pray for her as she adjusts to life in a large city and traveling by buses and trains.
Keep praying. Keep hoping. Keep Trusting.