I am in Nantes! This was my first international flight, and honestly it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected from Delta. Probably the worst experience of the journey was a driver running our car off the road in Seattle on the way to the airport. Thankfully we managed to not hit anything and I made it to the airport with time to spare. My fellow airplane passengers were kind and easy to travel with, even the baby and toddler in the row in front of me. My only other thoughts from the flight are: I have no desire to watch three and a half movies in a row for quite some time, and the airline hands out way too many snacks and meals. I guess processed food helps to distract passengers from the severely lacking leg room.
I ran into a slight issue at customs in Amsterdam. I was under the impression, mostly from word of mouth and casual googling, that I did not need a visa as long as I leave France within 90 days. I assumed I could fly from Nantes to Geneva to stay with my aunt and uncle once my three-month program was over. Turns out I was wrong. Apparently I have to leave the entire EU after 90 days, not just France. The customs guy shrugged and told me to have the embassy figure it out. I’ll look into that later.
Amsterdam’s airport was pleasant to hang out in between flights. I especially appreciate that there’s chocolate for sale everywhere: chocolate shops, chocolate cafes, less expensive Valrhona, and overpriced M&Ms.
I was met at the Nantes airport by the host family, who are very kind. The parents do not speak any English and my French is spotty at best, so it’s been interesting. I can understand most of what they are trying to say, but my vocabulary isn’t big enough to respond thoroughly. One of their sons is here, however, and he speaks some English.
Now I just have to figure out what my schedule is, where I’m supposed to go, and how I am supposed to get there. While speaking French. C’est bon!