Exploration of France's hidden gem
I know it's only been a few days since my last post and I normally write less frequently than that, but so much has transpired in the last few days I felt compelled to write and put some thoughts to paper and to rest.
After a rougher than anticipated transition, things are beginning to settle and are looking up. I met a really awesome group of kids from the Philippines, who I've spent most of my time hanging out with lately since they speak English and are very outgoing and fun to be around. I had dinner the other night as well with a girl who apparently knows me on Facebook even though I'm not totally sure I know her, and she's from Brazil. Two girls form South Korea joined us as well along with a girl from London. This has truly been a pretty eye opening experience for me to get to meet people form around the world, literally, and to hear their thoughts and views and hear about their cultures. It's pretty fascinating to me, really. Speaking of different views, this morning myself and two other American students from Kentucky were interviewed by a French radio reporter about our thoughts and reactions to 9/11. He was very curious to know about where we were, what we were doing, what we thought then and now, and if we thought the 10th anniversary of it posed a threat at all. Afterwards, I asked him what he thought and what the general French reaction was to the incident when it happened, and it was very interesting to hear. World views fascinate me, so it's been really cool to hear. Many of the people I've met flew west to east to get here, instead of east to west, so it's been interesting to hear about their journeys as well. It's weird to me how few Americans are here also. Four from Kentucky, one from Dallas, and myself. That's it. I'm hoping to meet a few more when we all go to the event that the city of Dijon is hosting on Sunday morning for all Americans in the city in honor of 9/11 and make some more connections there.
The orientation stuff has been going very well so far also. Sanaa has been very helpful, and I find it funny that when we pass in the halls she knows my face, even though I've had very little interaction with her here in France. Not surprising, but slightly funny given how much trouble we had with housing. Things in the flat are starting to get settled and the only thing left here is to sort out electricity with EDF. There are still a few cultural differences in the flat that I'm getting used to I think, but so far everything has been nice here and I'm happy to call it my home for four months, if I actually spend that much time in here.
Other bizarre things:
My brain has started to function in French half the time I think. If I know how to say it in French, construct the sentence in French, know the voacb word in French, etc, I'll generally think it in French and I've had to stop myself a few times when writing emails or messages to friends and home to write something in English. It's very very weird to me, but very cool too, and hopefully when I leave in four months I'll be able to speak much better. I don't expect to become fluent, but almost no one here speaks English, which is good for me.
My class schedule: I don't yet how much outside class work is expected, but most of my classes only require 15 hours of in class time, spread across the entire semester. Lots and lots and lots of free time it seems and time for travel. No class is on a set schedule, it changes every week. And, at least one maybe two of my classes haven't been scheduled yet. They're happening, they just simply haven't been "scheduled" yet. Seems odd to me, but I'm just trying to roll with the punches as best I can and learning as much as I can from everything. I'll find out more in the coming weeks i guess, but it all seems odd. And, I have no classes the week of my birthday! I hope that stays true, because I want to be traveling on my birthday if I can!
Other odds and ends:
I opened a French bank account this week with BNP, but I'm out of euros until Monday it seems unless the wire transfer miraculously appears tomorrow when I think banks here are closed. I bought a French mobicarte phone yesterday. I spoke nothing but French from the minute I walked into the Orange store to the minute I walked out with the phone because the lady spoke no English, so I was excited about that. There were times where it was awkward, difficult, and I'm sure she didn't fully understand my French, but nonetheless, mission accomplished. I fried my electric razor. Totally fried. I forgot to use the converter one morning I think, and killed it. So, I'm waiting on another one from the States (as we say here) and doing my best to get by until then. I haven't worked out since arriving, and it's driving me crazy (although probably good for my STILL sprained wrist...) and hopefully I can give the tiny school gym a try next week on Monday. Wifi is impossible to find over here. I've only found one place across the city in my wandering so far that has had free Wifi, which means their business is probably about to increase also. The girlfriend situation is working out well so far, and we've managed to skype a fair amount. It's hard, it's tough, and at times it sucks, but we're working it out day by day, and working on a plane ticket for her to come out and visit for a week, which should be fun especially if I have very few if any classes.
Last but not least... PICTURES!! All of these, the 360s included, have been taken with my iPhone 4 while out wandering the streets of Dijon using the 360 and Camera+ apps. Can't say enough good things about either of them.
360 of Square Darcy today: http://t.co/sLRdObc
360 of Square Grangier: http://t.co/F7QRCGJ
Facebook photo album (and growing): http://t.co/loFDirB
And a few of my favorite highlights!