Okay, I’ve missed a couple days of updates, so let me catch you up. On Thursday, Dominique and Jean-Pierre helped me with a lot of errands I wanted to accomplish as soon as possible, which I appreciated so much, because there is no way (at this point in my French) I would have been able to figure out cell phone plans and train passes on my own. They also opened my eyes to many new discoveries, the most important of course, being a store called Picard. Picard is the maker of those amazing frozen food products, and at the Picard store you can find frozen vegetables, fruit, frozen meals for one, frozen meals for two, desserts, and other wonders. See Mumsy, you don’t have to worry about me going hungry in France due to my lack of cooking skills. There is a wonderful, magical place called Picard.
After the day’s errands Dominque and Jean-Pierre helped me set up the cell phone that they gave me (they are amazing people) and we sat down to another wonderful dinner where I greatly enjoyed some white wine, and stuffed myself on foie gras. Here is a picture of the table:
I went to bed around 10:30, but found myself awake at 2:00 am (thanks a lot jet lag), then slept on and off until 6:00 am. Dominique took me to the train station in Paris, where I took my first TGV trip (the super fast train) to Poitiers. At Poitiers, Sylvie, the director of the Centre Oregon met me at the train station, along with Aerika, another Oregon study abroad student. They helped me get settled in to the Espace Kennedy, an international students housing unit, where I will stay for about 15 days. I’m quite glad I have a small bathroom to myself in my room, but it is definitely peculiar because it is just a tiny space, so when I take a shower, the sink and the toilet get absolutely soaked. Also, once you push on the button that starts the shower, the water only lasts for about thirty seconds. Then you have to push the button again. It’s sort of like those sinks at highway rest stops. But no matter.
During the fifteen days, I must find myself an apartment. This prospect terrifies me a little, mainly because I don’t know where anything is. If I knew where the Rue Rabelais was, it would be easy to go there to take a look at the apartments for rent. But since I don’t know my way around yet, every errand becomes a major procedure.
So, after I got myself set up in my room, I took the bus to Poitiers’ Centre Ville. It’s beautiful.
Tons of little cafés and restaurants surrounding the main square, adorable shops, and everyone is so nice and helpful. My first requirement was food, so I stopped at a café and ordered a menthe à l’eau ( a favorite of mine when I visited France in 2000) and a jambon beurre avec fromage (a ham and butter sandwich with cheese, also a favorite).
Then I began my errands, such as buying basics like soap, face wash, towels, flip flops (for the shower), scissors, et cetera. Eventually, sheer exhaustion overcame me. I stopped for an orangina at a café, (which I downed in about three gulps) and then took the bus out of Centre Ville. Of course it was the wrong bus, so it took me about an hour to return to the Espace Kennedy. The bus driver was so nice though, and I think he might have taken a different route in order to drop me off where I needed to go. When I got back to my room I was so hot and tired and all I really wanted was a cold glass of water. The sink water never really gets cold though, and there are few things I hate more than drinking luke warm water. I was too hot and exhausted to go out and buy water somewhere, so I stripped down to my underwear and sprawled on the bed in an effort to cool off. Of course I fell asleep (it was only about 5:30 pm) and slept until about 4:00 am. Then, I took a shower, got dressed for the day, and went downstairs to the WiFi area of the building at about 6:30 am. Apparently I need a personal password to connect to the network, and the man who organizes the passwords is still on vacation (all the French go on vacation in August). Oh, well. Today I will attempt to find an internet café. Also on my agenda today:
-buy a ten month bus pass
-BUY BOTTLED WATER
-start researching apartments?
-continue exploring the city
I think once I get settled into an apartment, and figure out the bus system a little better, I will really be able to relax. I miss everyone, but I am having a great time.
UPDATE: I think I found an apartment today! It's so cute. It's furnished and there's a sink in the room. There's a communal kitchen, toilet, and bath, but I think there will only be about four other students there, so it's perfect!
Also: My luggage came in Thursday, which was quite a relief.