Thursday, April 26, 2007

And so it begins

Finally getting access to the internet. It’s been a busy week and I have a hard time remembering what day it is. I arrived safely on Saturday. Flights went smoothly – business class is sweet! All our baggage arrived except one of my suitcases which somehow managed to take a detour to Dusseldorf. For those of you who are geographically challenged – that’s northern Germany when my destination is southern France. But thank the Lord it arrived just a few hours later and was delivered to the hotel. Two co-workers were already here and picked us up at the airport. We managed to squeeze 5 people’s luggage and 7 people into 2 tiny cars.

Our first meal in France – McDonald’s. In our defense it was the closest thing to the hotel and we had to order in French. Je voudrais McChicken, frittes, Coca-colaLight. The food has been excellent as expected and there are many choices. I’ve already had several regional specialities – duck, chevre (a blue cheese) and cassoulet. Still have to try the fois gras. Sunday we drove to the city’s downtown. Lots of flea market type booths around. When I was in Paris in 2001, we noticed how few children there were around. I was amazed on Sunday how many babies & young families were about in the city. It was great to see. Visited Saint Sernin basilica. Beautiful old church. The picture of me is in front of the Capitol building to prove I’m really here.

Things are going well so far. It will be an experience of a lifetime. I am thankful my luggage arrived with few problems. I figured out my GSM phone. One of our guys had all sorts of problems with anything electronic. The last few days have been busy with work. Monday we drove out to our apartments that we get on May 1. They will be nice. I am looking forward to getting into them and being able to fully unpack and set some sort of routine. We took a scenic drive through the countryside, lots of little villages and through the farmland. Ended up in Foix in the Pyrenees Mountains before heading back. The picture of the castle on a hill. I can't quite figure out how to post pictures in the middle of the text. As one co-worker said, maps are only approximations here, you have to follow the signs. Seriously. I have a better appreciation for the movie scenes where someone’s lost and punching the map while trying to find their way in Europe.

We get a 4 day weekend because May 1 is Labor Day. We haven’t decided where to go explore yet for a day or two – so many choices. We will work on some of their holidays. It seems there’s a bank holiday every week in May. May 1 is Labor Day. May 8 is something and so is Thursday the following week.

Surprises: palm trees, lots of new construction in villages near the city. The weather has been beautiful – almost too hot already. We were thankful for the cloudy, cool day Wednesday. I’m also surprised at how normal being here feels.

Speaking French is intimidating. I rehearse a phrase and then when I need to use it I freeze. Hopefully it will get easier as I’m around it more. And hopefully I can understand what I’m being asked as well. Driving will be a bit intimidating too.

Once we get into the apartments and offices next week I’ll have regular internet access, so I’ll try to post more regularly. Thanks for all your prayers.


Maria. said...

So good to hear that you arrived safely! I was thinking about you last night at ARISE, laughing to myself about the dance routine performed in your honor! We miss you girl and are anxious to hear more. Your pictures, I am sure, cannot do the scenery justice! It looks incredible. Not quite like flat Kansas!

Jennifer said...

I LOVED that dance! Thanks, things have been crazy this week. It has been an interesting experience so far.