Monday, September 29, 2008

Hooray For Internets!

I finally have internet in my apartment! It took a little over two weeks, but I am now remembering the wonders of the web. Apparently France isn’t that great at things like organization and efficiency. I’ve come to learn that it takes about ten times more effort to accomplish anything in France than it does in the States. It’s kind of hilarious. Anyway, I now have the glory of the internets, but I’m still waiting for my landline to work. Oh well. One out of two at least.

So, it’s a terrible fact that I now have to go to classes. I have to keep reminding myself why I’m here. And the answer is not amazing food and beautiful clothing. Sigh. I have eight classes, which I must admit makes my brain explode after coming from college in Oregon where I take four classes (at the very, very most). Here is my schedule:

Monday:
-Civilization: 8:30-10:30 We talk about current French issues and culture.
-Literature: 4:00-6:00 We read a book a week. It’s not going well.

Tuesday:
-Oral Translation:10:00-12:00 This is in the actual French University, not just the center for foreign students. Scary.
-Written Translation:2:00-3:30 This is my only other class in the French University. I really like this class.

Wednesday:
-Written Expression: 11:00-1:00 This class is hard.
-Grammar: 1:30-3:30 Who doesn’t love a good two-hour grammar class?
-Literary History: 3:30-5:30 I really like the professor of this course. I think I would have more fun during this class if my brain wasn’t already fried from the two previous French classes.

Thursday:
-Oral Expression/Drama: 10:30/9:00-12:00 This class is cool. I’ve only had the oral expression part of it, but this Thursday is the first drama portion. I think it will be fun.

Here is a picture of this class:



Friday:
No classes. Awesome.


I will now try to place my experiences and observations thus far into categories. Starting with...

MY APARTMENT!

I love my little French studio.



Here is my little kitchenette:



And the view from my apartment window at sunset:



And my first dinner in my own French apartment:



I also have a private toilet and bath. Fantastic. More pictures to come.

FOOD!

I'm in France. Do I need to tell you how amazing all of the food is?

This was one of my first restaurant meals in Poitiers. Cous-cous with Morroccan chicken. Definitely not as good as grand-mère and grand-père's, but still delicious:



I also feel that it is a duty of mine to eat as many pastries and desserts as possible. Here is just a sampling of the tasty morsels I've been munching. Be jealous bitches:








BOOZE!

The drinking age in France is something like 16. I had my first drink with my fellow Oregonian (and Southern Oregon student) Lindsey, and my French engineering friend Simon. Not knowing what to order, I asked Simon's advice, telling him I only drink sweet alcohol. He suggested I order Kir. It's a sort of white wine with your choice of peach, black-currant, or blackberry syrup added. The one I'm drinking here is blackberry. It was delicious, although I think I've developed a preference for peach at this point.

Me and Lindsey:



Lindsey and Simon:



Kelsey, me, Christa-two more fellow Oregonians at a billiards bar. I tried a white martini here that night. It was not pleasant, so I went back to drinking Kir. Mmmm. Kir.




PARTIES!

French engineering students know how to party. They have a themed party every Thursday. On campus. I was told that officially, the building in which the parties take place is a library. It’s completely student-run, and during the day you can get free coffee or soda. During the parties, mixed drinks cost 1 euro, and shots are 50 centimes.

My first ÉSIP (the engineering school) party was hippie themed:



This is Simon, me, and Lindsey. I'm about to take my first shot. It wasn't bad. Except for the burning.



The second party was disco themed:

This is Ghislain on the left, and Simon on the right, and I don't know the boy in the middle:



And here is Quentin on the left:



I've also attended parties at the British and Irish houses, and another ÉSIP gathering at the billiards bar last week, but unfortunately don't have pictures. I'm sure there will be other opportunities.

Over the weekend, we celebrated Aerika's 22nd birthday. We went to an Indian restaurant for dinner, and then to Est-Ouest, one of the very popular bars in Poitiers. Here is a portion of our birthday celebration group. Lindsey, Aerika, and Rachel are from Oregon, and our French friend François is in the middle:




Wow. Okay. So that was a lot of catching up. Now that I have internet, I should be able to keep you updated much more frequently. Goodnight for now. It's almost 1 am, and maybe I should do some homework before sleep. Maybe.

It's amazing here and I'm having so much fun. I'll post more soon. I miss and love all of you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Note to the Skunk Master

I forgot to tell you. The green drink is water and mint syrup. Quite refreshing on a hot day.

So. Tired. Body. Shutting. Down.

I was going to try to catch up on my blog tonight, but I am overcome with exhaustion. I still don't have internet, so I'm at the cybercafe right now. It's 12:30 am which is the latest I've stayed up since I've been in France, and I am tiiired. We've had french classes for 6 hours or so each day this week. I've also been busy signing apartment contracts, moving into my new studio (different from the first one I looked at and much better), and buying things like dishes and windex. I am so glad to have a place downtown. And this apartment has a tea salon in the building next door as well! I will try to go this weekend.

So everything is still wonderful here. I'm sooo glad that this orientation week is over. I will have more time this week to write about me experiences, provided I get internet on Monday (fingers crossed).

Since I'm too tired to upload pictures tonight, I will leave you instead with some observations I've made so far.

1. The French speak much more quietly than Americans. I always have to say "pardon, pardon?" because I can't hear what they are saying. Also, I am trying to speak more softly, so I don't feel like I'm yelling compared to the French.

2. All French dogs are adorable. Bella is of course the most adorable dog I know, but after Bella, these French dogs are fantastic. Maybe it's because I like small dogs more, and most of them are small. I think this because everything in France is smaller; small streets,small homes, small cars. Which brings me to my next point...

3. Small cars. I LOVE small European cars.

4. Also, I would say there are at least two pastry shops on every block. It's like Starbucks in America. Only better. Much much better.

Okay, I must head back to the apartment now for sleep. I will try to post more pictures and experiences soon. I miss you all.

Also: Check out Lilly's Japan blog at http://lillyandjapan.blogspot.com/