Aero: Brent Roberts – France 2018 – Family Life

Aero: Brent Roberts - France 2018 - Family Life

Aero: Brent Roberts – France 2018 – Family Life

Brent Roberts

Brent Roberts

My family life experience in France was great. I would go so far as to say that my experiences with them were my favorite part of the trip. The Melessike family (my host family) originated from Togo Africa. Because of this, I feel that my experience was quite unique in that I received a mix of French and Togolese culture. This showed in their personalities, their family dynamics, their cuisine, and the way they treated others. Most of them spoke English fairly well. Because of my family situation in the U.S., I can only really make a comparison to how our past family life.

They spoke mostly French as their primary language. However, from time to time they would speak to one-another in their national language from Togo. Also, besides the mother, they spoke English well enough for us to communicate with each other. There were times where we had to resort to gestures, pointing, and google translate to communicate; however, this was not often the case. With language playing a major role in my goals, it was awesome to receive this first-hand experience with multi-linguals.

We enjoyed sharing knowledge of our primary languages to each other. I taught them words such as “dude” and “battle”. Meanwhile, they taught me many basic phrases in French. We also shared our music cultures. They frequently played African music which was unique and different for me to frequently hear. Although I wasn’t too comfortable to show them my musical preference (metal), they insisted.

Their family dynamics and personalities were the most enjoyable part of my visit. They were very close-knit. They didn’t mind getting close to each other and being playful. I was quickly absorbed into this. One night, while we were putting away dishes after dinner, I put my elbow up next to Kristel (the youngest daughter) and she began playfully hitting my arm. They were all very outgoing, had positive attitudes, were cheerful, and had a great sense of humor.

Out of all of them I spent the most time with Christophe (the father). He frequently drove me around to “tour” other cities and areas around Vitre. He had the funniest expressions and reactions. Whenever something went wrong he would say “oopla” which he stated is his friendly alternative to “merde”. He frequently said “boom” even if nothing happened but could have, almost like he played it out in his mind as if it did. One night we were driving home when a dog ran at the car from down the middle of the street. Cristophe’s reaction was priceless.

“Oopla!” He exclaimed, and then said, “you go home, you kill dog, what is point?”

The food they cooked was incredible and it stemmed from a mixture of different cultures. Some of the best food I’ve ever had was cooked by my host family. One meal in particular stood out. We had guests coming over for dinner that night and my host family held nothing back. They were making a banquet of different foods that originated from Togo. They served three different sauces to be put on rice, one was slightly spicy with onions in it, one was a peanut butter-based sauce with chicken in it, and one was a coconut-based sauce with chicken and mushrooms in it. Aside from the sauces and rice they served cut up fruits. The preparation that went into this meal was as incredible as the food itself. The whole family worked on it. I watched them grind spices and cut up chicken among many other preparations. They were listening to music and dancing through most of it.

This experience reminded me of what it was like to have a large close-knit family. But even so, my experiences with the Melessike family cannot be compared to anything before it. Their cheerful personalities, the food they cooked, and their openness to others blew me away. They told me that their home is my home whenever I need. I will likely take them up on this offer in the near future, because my short-stayed visit with them was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Brent Roberts
Study Abroad – France 2018 @ FLCC

World Languages @ FLCC: France Study Abroad 2018

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