One of the most wonderful thing about being an exchange student is that, you get the chance to know, and even better, be a part of a new family. A chance that certainly does not stumble upon you everyday, and maybe would not even happen to me if i chose to just sit back, enjoying what are already served, study and finish homework endlessly in Indonesia.
And so… let’s start this brief story about my host family.
Like the other exchange student programs, during my stay, i live with a host family. In my program, my host family is hosting me voluntarily (which means they are not payed), allowing me to be a part of their family with the hope that we can experience an intercultural exchange, while at the same time (well for me) improving my french language skills. In other words, an immersion total in a completely new culture for me, a chance to discover a foreign culture too for the family, and an exceptional wonderful exchange year for all of us. Before arriving, me and my host family, we had contacted each other via emails, and from all the emails i receive they sound super nice and from the information i’ve read, my host family is also very open to new cultures as they love to travel to different countries, including my country Indonesia which they have visited 2 years ago. Knowing this particular information had made me even happier, assuring me that at least my host family had seen a glimpse of how the culture of my country works, and most importantly, they KNOW Indonesia. Funny i know, but seriously people, it has been a hard time for me here finding people who actually know WHERE Indonesia is. Therefore i find it very surprising and interesting that my own host family has actually visited Java and Bali, 2 most famous islands in Indonesia.
And… my expectations are all true. My host family are even beyond my expectations; they are probably the nicest and kindest people i have ever met. Just when i just got off from the train, i was welcomed with the warm smiles of my host father, Pascal, my host mother, Marie-Christine, and my host sister, Lea. Here is a picture of me and the Clochards (Clochard is their family name) when i just arrived at the station:
From the station in Saint Pierre des Corps, i went directly to my host family’s house in Saint Martin Le Beau, a small village (or commune in French) with the population 2800 people located just 30 minutes from the city Tours. Their house is amazing, all white on the outside, not so big, with lush of trees and bushes around, a garden in the backyard, a terrace, a kitchen, 3 bedrooms, a tv/living room and one special room in the basement with a little library, a computer, and an electric piano. Moreover, i also got my own room (yay!) just next to my host sister’s bedroom.
Moving on to the members of my host family…
LEA — My host sister. She’s 2 years younger than me and she’s now in in troisieme or 9th grade. She loves anything about China, and plus she also speaks Chinese very well, well for me almost fluent, and this is why the subject our family conversation has never gone too far from talking about China. Her knowledge about this particular country has always surprised me, and plus she also has a big interest in learning languages and it turns out that she knows some Indonesian words too! It is always super interesting exchanging our knowledge about foreign languages. She helps me a lot when it comes to learning my French, sometimes she also tries to explain some words or expressions in English so that i could understand. Lea is also outgoing and she likes to point out her opinions on almost everything, so yes, she is a very nice person to hang out with. Last but not least, she has a beautiful voice too! Thank god i now have a karaoke partner hahaha but you can exclude me when she sings Chinese, because she’s super good and me… i don’t even understand a word, so yeah…
MARIE-CHRISTINE — My host mother. She is that kind of person who is very,very helpful. Every time i have some questions about the language, school, or anything, she would willingly explain me until i understand. She is a great cook too! She make almost all the food for the family and it all taste super delicious, my stomach is satisfied every single day :) And also since she works in the organic food
company, every food in this house is almost Bio-guaranteed, and now i even learn some lessons from her on how to improve my diet!
PASCAL — My host father. I probably spend most of my time with him every day since he always drives me to school, and so we always talk and share things together, and it turns out, surprisingly, we had a lot of things in common! We share almost the same taste in music (he likes Arcade Fire and Yuna) and also the same hobby which is to watch films. I always have a great time with him, exchanging different kinds of artists, watching and discussing about films, oh and one thing also, he takes beautiful pictures! We always end up conversing a lot about photography tips, electronic music, and the culture differences. He always asks me many interesting things so it is always exciting to talk with him, while at the same time, practicing my French :)
I sometimes cannot believe is it a coincidence or what, because i feel so grateful to be placed in such a warm, welcoming, fun and kind family. Until this past 2 months, they had taught me so many things, helped me with all kinds of problems and questions, as well as took me to lots of beautiful places. However, of course, there is no such thing as a perfect family. I also have encountered some arguments and not-so-good conditions in the family which kinda made me missing home sometimes. I do sometimes feel excluded as it is super hard for me to understand things and to actually join in a conversation, but i am sure that this is just a matter of time. It all takes time, and even me, i need time to adapt myself with this new family and environment.
I am beyond grateful to be a part of this family, and i could not even ask for a better one.
[am gonna close this blog post with proof of how cool my host dad's playlist is]