Settling In

Authored By:

Reed F.

    My first week in Toulouse was not the smoothest transition I’ve ever experienced. My first time walking home I got incredibly lost. I ended up walking around searching for my apartment complex for close to two hours. Finally when I found the correct apartment complex, I entered the wrong building and spent another 30 minutes trying to enter the wrong door. When I finally got my sweaty, stressed, tried body into the right home and described my troubles to my host mom, she didn’t meet my anxiety with more anxiety, but with a giggle and a smile, knowing that eventually I’d figure it out. The very next night, while trying to unlock my front door, I somehow ended up breaking my only key into two, Again, fear and anxiety filled my head until two hours later, when my host mom came home to find her tall American son leaned up against her door waiting for her. Her giggles and smile again banished my anxiety into a bashful smile. Her laughs, both with me and at me, reminded me a two things. First, that she was not expecting a buttery smooth transition either and that these little hiccups didn’t matter at all in the long run. Secondly I was reminded that an introduction without these laughable moments at my own dispense wouldn’t be a proper introduction, because even though I am living in a new town, with a new family, trying to speak a new language, I am still the clumsy, silly and somewhat dopey kid from the midwest. I can take comfort in the fact that I will progress and expand as a person through this experience, but the new surroundings alone can’t change who I am, all they can do is laugh with me, accepting me in their new world as the person I am. Since these first couple days I have had no problem navigating around my community or unlocking doors. I’d like to add that the metro stop near my house, that I use everyday, is called “La Vache” (the cow). I am certain that it was nothing but fate that landed me, a guy from the dairy state of the US, at La Vache.