Natasha, Isabelle, and I are blessed to have such a huge place to ourselves (seriously, who the heck needs two living rooms?), so we decided to open it up and host a wine tasting party for our new friends. Our home was warm (with red, with white, and with chattering bodies), so we moved onto the balcony and wished for more summer nights. It’s hard to believe that orientation starts tomorrow, and there will be more things that are full – full houses, full glasses, and full hearts.
Today was 30 degrees, so 3 Germans, 2 Swedes, an Austrian, a Russian, and a Canadian drove along the French shoreline and explored the beaches of the coastal towns. The first place we went was the Dune De Pyla, which had mountains of sand as far as our eyes could see. On one side was a forest, and the other was the sea. We were disappointed when some locals told us that the dune was too steep to go down to the water, so drove on the countryside to some of the other beaches in Arcachon, which had the cutest old buildings and way overpriced food (haha).
We dove into the Atlantic Ocean, tip-toeing at first because of the cold, but then after – headfirst, with eyes closed, because it’s painless that way. When we sunbathed, the water kept crawling closer and closer to us, until it tickled our toes.
“Look,” Osker said, “The ocean is inviting us to come back for a swim.”
We talked about the way water is where we’re from, and I thought about how home often feels like sand in between our toes and salt in our hair.
“I’m used to the cold ocean, because the water is always freezing in Swedan.”
“In Munich, there is no ocean, but there is a huge river where people can surf.”
At the beginning, we were strangers, but at the end of the day, we parted ways like the French do: cheek-to-cheek on summer skin and kisses that smell like saltwater and ice cream.
Meet my roomies (aka, my new Russian baby sister and German mother)! Here are 3 facts about each of them:
1) Loves the opera and classical music (and also American music, haha).
2) Has never seen the ocean before (which we will change tomorrow)!
3) Is afraid of any creature that flies.
1) Loves to go surfing.
2) Has an Australian accent when she speaks English.
3) Drove here all the way from Germany, which means we have a car and our lives are 10x easier!!!
As of today, we can officially call our flat a home, because as Natasha says, “A home is not a home until it has food in it.” We made our first meal together, and they have been the best for flipping my homesickness around. Tomorrow, we go to the beach!
Last night, I arrived in Bordeaux after 18 hours of travelling feeling tired, sick, brokenhearted, jet-lagged, and more alone and helpless than I had ever felt in my entire life. I was by myself in a random hotel and had no idea how I was going to move into my new place, and I was wondering when my exchange was going to start being as fun as everyone says it is. But! There were words from home that have kept me encouraged for the past 48 hours, and I probably would have jumped right back onto the plane if I didn’t have letters from loved ones (and friends calming me down on Facebook) and hope that Jesus has prepared a place somewhere for me here.
“A little blue covered with peace is the best place to be.”
This morning, I somehow had the bravery to figure out Bordeaux transit with only Google Maps screenshots on my phone, and asked for help at my school. As the day went on, my heart became lighter and lighter, and everyone has been kind to me. As of 2 hours ago, I’ve officially moved into my new place, and my roommate has kept my spirits high. Here’s a photo of my apartment:
I could have cried from happiness at how beautiful it is if I hadn’t already cried so much before. I think the good part starts now.