Friday, February 17, 2006

all is well and my curtains are green

Not just any green-- BRIGHT GREEN!

Okay- seriously- I will not bore you with the finer details of dorm life. The university is good-- but my taxi driver got lost twice finding it. To say that the university is out a ways from Paris would be a giant understatement-- you have to take a train transfer twice then take a bus to get to campus-- yeah for the Taxi! Too bad that I can't take a taxi everytime I go to Paris. The taxi ride alone is 70 euro. Dang.

The campus looks a lot like SJU in parts-- lots of concrete and 60's era decor- which leads me back to the GREEN Curtains!!!

Other key highlights from the trip so far:

First songs heard in the taxi on the way to the hotel:

Celine Dion in French
Sexbomb- Not in French
Mambo # 5- Not in French
Roxanne- Not in French
Celine again. . . in French

After an exciting taxi ride and a more exciting hotel check in-- I made my way to a French convenience store to make my first purchase: A pocket sized English/ French dictionary. hmm.

I successfully ordered a cappuccino in a cafe as well as an omelette and salad. I may have been willing to be more adventurous but every other menu item contained an ingredient that I simply wasn't sure about. . . . but the cappuccino was great- as was the omelette. I ordered completely in French and almost survived all parts of the meal without needing a translater until she offered dessert and I thought she said cheque. Damn. I did accomplish one of my life goals-- I ate alone and didn't read anything. I just sat and watched people, which was great because if fulfilled one of my life goals and I was SUPER tired and I don't speak french well . ..

Got to campus with more luggage than any human needs and had to wind around to various buildings until I found the bureau de residence. They were at lunch. So. . . I waited for a while then found out that I needed 400 euro in cash in order to get my room. . . which no problem b/c there is a ATM on the other side of campus. Me and my luggage made the journey again.

Found out that the bathroom is communal-- and co-ed. zut! I thought it was a mens bathroom because of the urinals. . . but no. So I waited all day until George-- see below-- filled me on the rest of the story.

I met George from Quebec who is my next door neighbor and shares my shower. He is great- he is an undergrad student who is studying abroad here.

Excerpt from my conversation with Jenny from Sweden:

Jenny: Where are you from.
Pip: US
Jenny: Right. But WHERE in the US.
Pip: Right. Minnesota.

The campus is mostly closed today because the French students are on break-- so there wasn't any food places open all day-- so I just got back from dinner hour. No worries. . . they have diet coke. It is in a smaller bottle- so I will have to get two. Food at the cafeteria isn't great- but it is super cheap and breakfasts are free for all students. Can't complain about that!

Needless to say- things are looking up since I found the bathroom and ate. Maslow really was right. . . some needs simply must be met before self-actualization :)

We will see how tomorrow goes. . .. I am seriously considering taking extra french classes. . . there is a huge difference between asking where things are etc. and actually communicating. . . those boogers talk very fast! ;)

Pictures available flickr include: 2 shots of my dorm. . . Paris via my hotel room and an artistic shot I will call. . . "paris when you are supEEERRR tired and hungry and you leave the camera on landscape"

bon soir


Elise said...

Glad you made it there in one piece! Can't wait to hear more about the program and the people you meet.

SparkyJT said...

You did time travel, right?
Maybe you are stuck in a time warp. Green curtains and all. Yes, it is me SparkyJT. (+ Just for you.)