This week I feel like I am living in an episode of Full House, except everyone living in the house is way cooler and there isn’t an infantile uncle who is trying to succeed as a woodchuck ventriloquist. Also everyone speaks French instead of English – so you know, not actually like the TV show at all but you get the point.

I am now sharing a roof with four adults, one middle schooler, three school-aged children, and a four month-old baby. It is hectic, there is a constant stream of laundry being done and sometimes I wake up to the sound of crying, but I love all the interaction and caring I see in this house.

In short, Estelle’s sister is in transition between homes, which is why she has brought her husband and three children to stay for a little while. They also have siblings and parents who come in and out, and it is great to see how much everyone helps each other without question.

I swear, this baby was toootally happy hanging out with me.

The last night I spent at Sandra and Mahen’s was similar, because they had four other guests plus myself sleeping over. The seven of us stayed up until one in the morning talking and drinking wine and beer, and then everyone went to sleep on foldout beds, blowup mattresses, and couches, filling almost all the floor space of the living room and guest room. What I have found most heartwarming about my Couchsurfing hosts so far is their view of taking guests in, because it seems to them much more a pleasure than a burden.

Spending time in a packed house, I also enjoy the interaction with the children (ages 5, 7, and 8) and consider it a good way to get my feet wet before I start teaching next week. When Estelle’s seven-year-old niece learned I am from the United States, she had two questions for me: first off, are there volcanoes over there? And second off, is there hot chocolate? Definitely the top two things to know if you’re ever traveling to the US.

She has also asked me twice now if I will go to McDonald’s with them tomorrow. I’ve never actually eaten at McDonald’s in France mostly out of principle, but it’s hard to say no when she seems so into it. Ah, an American at McDonald’s. I knew I’d have to become a walking cliché in France at some time or another, at least this way I can pretend it was against my wishes.

Editor’s note: I have actually just realized it is ten people, because I forgot to count myself. This is probably why I was a language major instead of a math major…

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