I'm in France! I made it onto the correct train, car, and seat... well not exactly. There was a woman in my seat, so I took the next open one. Pas de probleme. I resisted the urge to fall asleep on the train for fear that I would miss my stop. The countryside was very beautiful - lots of farms and old buildings. I saw lots of sunflower fields which were very beautiful, although more of a yellow blur on the TGV going 300 km/h.
My train arrived in Tours about an hour late, so I was worried that my Host Mom, Martine Dupont, would not find me. When walking out of the station, I did not see anyone with a sign saying "Annie Plank", so I wandered around a little. ...Maybe she was back where the train let us off? Or the parking on the other side?...no. I wandered back out again and looked for a telephone. As I was hoping that I would be able to figure out how to use the telephone, a woman came up and asked if I was Annie Plank? What a relief! She said that she was expecting someone with more luggage. Martine came with her son Pierre who is 23. He looked very French wearing slacks and a button down shirt with a sweater wrapped around his shoulders. He has a wild set of curls on his head, more of a fro really. Martine is quite glamorous herself. She wore slacks, low heels, a white blouse, and a sweater around her shoulders. She has jet black hair put up very elegantly and a bit of that je ne sais quoi that all French women seem to have.
Pierre and Martine drove me back to the apartment in their itsy bitsy car. The apartment building is in the shape of a hollow square with parking in the middle. It has a white plaster facade with lots of pretty windows and flower boxes. The apartment is on the 4th floor (3rd in France, the 1st floor doesn't start until you hit the 2nd floor...) And bien sur, no elevator. The building was built after World War II because the area had been bombed.
The aparment is very simple, yet beautiful. It consists of one hallway with rooms attached. The kitchen, bathroom, and one bedroom are on one side. The living room and my bedroom are on the other. The toilet is at the end of the hallway (seperated from the bathroom). I have read that the French don't see why one would use a toilet in the same room that you take a bath in. However, after you use the toilet, you then have to walk into the bathroom to laver les mains.
The living room has an entryway with French doors, a large window, and a small fireplace with gorgeous red marble. There are many photos and paintings on the wall either done by Martine herself or her friends. Two of the paintings in the apartment that she has done are of cats in the style naif.
The bathroom has a stand alone tub with feet, no shower curtain, and a hand held sprayer. It takes a little getting used to to not spray the walls with water. The bathroom has a ton of purfume bottles in it, mostly channel, which I think is very fun.
The kitchen is small but functional. It has what I think is a small dishwasher, but we don't use it. There is also a small washer (no dryer) in the bathroom. The fridge is full sized which looks huge since everything else in the apartment is small.
My bedroom is nice. It has a big window looking out onto the square that the apartment faces (La Place de la Resistance). There is also a small fireplace. The other bedroom belongs to Ayumi, the Japanese student who also stays with Martine. I'm not sure where Martine sleeps. I think she is in an apartment one level down. Pierre explained this to me on the first day, but it was a little confusing. Anyways, I love the apartment!