After a few days of reflecting and taking on some hard courses I am reflecting on the past few day’s events. First of all having the internet just makes things a lot more easy and accessible, seeing that I don’t have to pay an excess amount of money. The 10€ monthy paid on th 5th of every month seems fine for me and therefore I never have to worry about it anymore! I am still getting a million and a half emails from Mt. A and I don’t really know why. Why do they send 10+ a day when none of them are even relavant to anything in daily life.

As a little side note, classes on Monday were fine but Mme. Sauvagé assigned us to do a synthèse, which is a collection of articles, and she talks to us as if we are 5 year olds. I think she would take a heart attack if she knew that I’ve written 10 page French papers, and did very well on them too. Dispite all this I will write my ¼ page paper and get a good mark because it’s easy.

As another side note, my literature teacher who assined us 10 pages to read today and thought it was too much, would also shit a brick when he finds out that we read ‘Les Trois Mousquetaires’ last year. Oh literature, and them thinking that we are completely oblivious to everything that goes on in the world. I’m thinking that I will read a Maupassant novel for my study, but I’m not sure. I might even do some Camus, since I like his writing style.

On Monday my classes were okay and quite interseting; I am starting to like my History professor as he’s easy to understand, except the rain is putting a dampar on most of my happy moments and such. I had to recharge my CROUS card since I ate all of my meals, so I went today to fill it up after my morning grammar class. We talked about ‘faire la bise’ which is something very foreign and weird to me. I’ve only had it happen 3 times to me so far, but it’s been disturbing each time as to me I don’t like being touched and things like that. So the idea of having someone come at my face with theirs randomly doesn’t really strike me as being nice; but he explained it pretty well about how and why people do it.

Tuesday classes are brutal becasue I have more or less all of them, but my philosophy class left me with warm fuzzies and an intense feeling inside. Our professor is so good at explaining and is so passionate about what he talks about; that even after being 30 minutes late for class he still is able to give amazing lectures and leaves us enlightened and educated at the same time.

We went to dinner and Nic invited us over for a movie night. Only Ginette and I ended up going, but I made sure to bring my whale since he called me to tell me it’s a PJ party. I serisouly almost crashed on his floor to sleep because I was so tired after watching a Bosnian film. His host mother was so interested in Canada and Sweden since her daughter studies in Montréal, so I think that she really likes me, and she kept getting mad at Nic for not having the French subtitles on. I think she really is trying to help him learn French a lot, and pretty sure I think we are going to be speaking French in our groups. Ginette and I were talking French for dinner and the time between classes for practice and I think that by mid October I will be speaking more and more, becoming more comfortable with it.

Right now I’m tired, but I have to make comments about French people sleeping habits. They go to bed early and wake up mid morning, and they never seem to be tired looking or have bags under their eyes. Everyone in North America has them since life is so busy, so I think that as of tomorrow I am going to be more Frenchlike and go to bed at 23.00 everynight (but weekends) so that I can become me healthy (or something like that).

Over-and-out

BNP Paribas sucks, we went there and Jeremy was waiting for Ginette, and hopped up quicker than I’ve ever seen anyone jump up before in my life! It was really cute, and then he got her to sign some stuff and gave her some stuff also, plus I had to cash some travelers cheques (the woman got confused). Plus Ginette was too chicken shit to ask out Jeremy to show us around or anything, so I was sour all day. I wanted to make new friends and she just bitched at me about being awkward and such, but we were dressed nice and ready to impress.

Strasbourg.12

Then we went to IKEA, and I bought a lot of things. Useful things, very very useful things, and that’s alwasy a positive note! We looked around and then I saw the most amazing thing; a huge whale plush animal. I simply had to have it, but I didn’t want to fork out 29€ for it, however I did, and we walked home with it under my shoulder and it was amazing. I loved it, and I made so many people smile because I was carrying a huge plush whale. Who wouldn’t love that (end rhetorical question)!!

Strasbourg.13

Anyways, we got back inside and I think that I napped (not sure) and then we went to go to dinner, but I couldn’t find my CROUS card, in other words my meal card. What a pain in the ass it is to rip my entire room open for it, and not find a bloody thing. I will continue to look, but I’ve lost all hope and I doubt that I will be able to find it ! 🙁 This means that on Friday I will have to go and cancel my old card and obtain a new one. Such a pain in the ass for such a small thing. I wish I could just not have to worry about it like old meal hall. *sigh wiggle wiggle*

I’ve also noticed a really ugly girl across the window that sits at her windowsill and smokes. Firstly, I don’t like people who smoke because it’s annoying in at least in Canada there are some laws about it preventing people from doing it (which is nice), but here in France it’s so widespread I can’t understand!

A happier note from last time, as I went over to Ginette’s room to see how things were and to see if she had a pair of scissors (of which she didn’t), and then wandered down one door to find Zahra’s room. She’s one of the British people that are here, although I think she’s Irish, and we found that there were about 10 people in her room watching Shrek II, so we joined and then talked a bit. I think I am remembering their names finally, which is a nice chage from not knowing anyone! Anyways, I then went to bed after putting on some face creame, and it wasn’t so good afterall and I smelled like sulfur.

Waking up at 7.00 for 8.30 classes is useless. So I waited out in the rain for awhile and met the other people that were here from the group. I totally forgot that we had dinner tonight at the Lycée, but never-the-less finding out that our test was pushed back until 14.00 was a pain in the ass. So Dr. Lee and a few of us with names towards the end of the alphabet went to the bank (who’s computers were down, and therefore useless) as well as the Agora to make reseverations to meet with someone regarding out carte de séjour. That was a pain in the ass, but I was super excited today to finally have a meal that was under 5€; 1,95€ to be exact! Thank God for C.R.O.U.S. cards which will now allow me to stay within budget!

The test was a pain in the ass because of course I didn’t know what the hell to write, and sitting in an Ampéthéâtre isn’t the easiest thing to do with a CD recording that ecoed like hell. Oh well, I did my best with what I had and hopefully I will get placed in the upper-levels, or at least the intermediate one. The building that I will be in is really nice and clean, but now I want to eat some and take a nap, but the stupid plumber people are outside making a shitload of noise.. BAH!

After taking the test I went home for a 30 minute nap, before we had to go to the Lycée Jean Sturm to meet the headmaster and get some tour and then have dinner. We met there, and Dr. Lee was late (as always) and we met up with some friends the others made today with some guy from North Carolina who awkwardly stood with us while Dr. Lee did his little spheil and then he went away. We walked over to the Lycée across the street and then met the principal which seemed really weird at first, but it turned out to be a lovely evening. We met in the little area for children who don’t go out for breaks, and with ‘les hommes d’animation’ who look after those who don’t leave. We talked about ourselves a bit, and then he told us many things about the educational system and random things about Alcase. It seems that there are a lot more things i in the region, and a lot of culural things here than I thought. Their own language, their own dialects, their own styles of wine and cheese. It’s all so different and interesting that it’s hard to pass up.

Gymnasie.Jean.Sturm.01

So about this dinner thing. It’s about 5 courses, a lot of food spread out over a lot of time, and a lot of freaking wine. I had about 6 glasses of different wines, but that wasn’t by choice, it was sort of something that just happend; he kept serving me. He probably figured that because I was the only male in the room, that I could handle it, but I’m a lightweight and I struggle on a daily basis. The food was fantastic, and apparently was all prepared by headmaster Michel Jermann, in his kitchen. After showing us the lycée, his apartment is just upstairs and it’s huge. He lives with his son, Timothy, who was very shy with us anglophones, but showed us many magic tricks in the evening. For someone that’s only 15 years old, he’s pretty deep voiced and already has a lot of facial hair. That makes me feel very self concious about myself, but I’m well over that.

Dinner was chit-chatting about random things, and took a few hours, and really was a lot more pleasant than I thought it would be. I imagined that it would be this thing that is so strained, but it was quite natural (apart from the drinking). We were accompanied earlier in the evening by another Michel, and Olivier who are people at the university, and while we were touring we actually met a wonderfully cute woman from Texas who is at the English department there. She was delighted to make our acquaintance and was a bit over the top, but cute none the less! We even were invited by all the staff and people there to come back and get introduced to some students. All we have to do is e-mail the school at some point, and then they can set something up so that we can come talk with the students. It would be very helpful for conversation, and he realises that for some of us it’s quite a struggle with oral expression.

Gymnasie.Jean.Sturm.03

We got to see a movie about the Christmas performances put on at the church, and as well as a bunch of foods and wines that we got to taste. We even got to hear a bit of Alcascian (local dialect) which is quite frankly a mix between German and French!! I’ve decided that it was quite nice, and I am seriously considering going back at some point in order to improve my status as a non-francophone (especially considering the tests that we took today).

Strasbourg.04

Maybe I’m silly or something, but apparently we get shafted in our residences seeing that we only get uncomfortable blankets, and no pillows. So for the last few days I have been sleeping with my dirty clothes as a ‘pillow’ until we went to the Maison d’Édtuidante to obtain the stuff left to me by Meredith and Maria. I got a nice comforter, some pots and pans, some bowls, and a few cups; but most importantly a pillow. The graces of the pillow has brough happiness into my otherwise sad and uninteresting life during the evening. Magically as I received this pillow (which isn’t the same as the one at home; but IKEA can help with that) allowed me to sleep soundly for the first time! What a revelation, and what a grace for a higher being known to most as ‘God.’ I don’t think I’ve ever been so desperate for having a pillow in my life, apart from being an insomniac; so now I’m happy with a pillow and all is swell.

Thank goodness for the Cathédral, as it’s our meeting place and we only really know how to get there and such. Finding anywhere else or alternate routes seems to be a bit of a bitch to do, however after awhile we will be used to it. If only places to eat were easier to find, but with all the little side-streets and such that there are it’s a lot more difficult to find anything of vast need, for example: food. And so Ginette and I have decided to go down the ‘Quai des Pechêurs’ in order to find a boulengerie where we can be buying our baguettes on a regular basis. I assume that 0.80€ is reasonable for a baguette, if not then somebody save me!

When Amber arrived into the Strasbourg airport, she apparently took a taxi right from there and had no problems, but this begs the question when she starts to talk about her travels. Apparently she met a taxi driver there that wanted to help her get a mobile phone for like 10€ and then gave her his mobile number and expected her to call him and such. We were left with some sketchy details so I’m not quite shure of what was going on with all that, but he sounded like he had a sketchy name, and that he sounded Moroccan or something from what she was saying. Oh well I didn’t think anything of it, considering that Amber is quite an attrative girl and that she seems to attract the attention of everyone. For example today we were at the Monoprix for shopping and we were waiting outside for Ginette and Crystal when these two guys were walking by, and we were standing on a wall. She was just talking to me, and I notice that one of the guys (who is about 14 or so maybe older) was staring at her and was giving her the look down and wasn’t watching where he was going. I sort of laughed and didn’t think anything of it until he ran into the wall and made a huge “ouf” sound and then ran off laughing. Natrually I started to giggle and asked Amber if she realized that the guy was staring at her and that he just ran into the wall. Her response to it exactly was: “Ahha I didn’t notice, I’m sure you’re imagining things” and then did a little hair flick and giggle. I’m not even going to get into this one, but it’s got oblivious written all over it!

Also when we were walking outside the CROUS office around the corner and this guy behind us came up and told us that we should practice our French, and then we switched modes and talked to him for a little bit at the corner. It turned out that he was Luxembourgoise and he spoke very good French, but his name was Sven and got super excited when he heard that I was of Swedish decent. He however is fully from Luxembourg. Anyways, it was obvious that he came over to talk to Amber and I, for Amber, so I let it slide a bit and then went to the inet café to check my mail and to talk a bit with some friends.

Later that night we sat outside and talked and got in trouble by the security guard because he told us that people were trying to sleep; however nobody was left in the house as they were out partying so we were a bit confused. Lots of people kept walking by and staring at us for no reason, but I figured that French people just like to stare, as we weren’t really anything good to stare at I think. We went to bed afterwards, and I went starving but we planned to go get baguettes also so it was very exciting (at least for me: after all it’s food!).

But whats the deal with all these random people staring at us, or just at people in general. I’ve never felt so judged in my life, and I’m afraid that it’s a bad thing or that I’m a loser or something, as they just won’t stop staring! Apart from that we met a bunch of British people outside our residence: Luke, Richard, Matieu, Zahra and a bunch of girls that I don’t remember. Apparently they are all law students who are at URS and are from Ireland, London, and Scotland. That might be why I can’t understand a bunch of them no matter how hard I try to listen. It doesn’t help that Luke and Mathieu both talk quietly and shyly as it’s hard enough with all the French people yelling around. They seem nice, but I doubt we will see them much again, if we are lucky at least!

Tour today with Dr. Lee sucked, because he was going off to Paris to have some affair with some guy probably but at any rate he walked us around and we had no idea where the hell we were so it was just a blur. Now we know the types of places we would like to go, but don’t know how the hell to get to any of them!

Strasbourg.02

Jet-legged as hell and not able to sleep before the hour of 04.00 even after going to bed at 22.00 is becoming a bitch. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have a pillow or blanket, or something comfortable, but I think it’s more of the fact that I’m not used to the way things are here yet. I will adjust I’m sure, but I think also the part about not eating as much also is not helping. If I could eat a little more I would be a little more happy, as I feel quite famished, but since I don’t have my student card yet I am unable to get my CROUS card so that I can get my full meal for 2.70€. I’m sick of spending +9€ on meals, as that’s quite expensive and we can’t find anywhere in the city that is cheap as of yet.

However, on a happier note I went and got a baguette for the first time today for about 0.80€ which I’m not sure if it’s cheap or not, but I am having difficulties with identifying the money as it all looks the same, and everything is rounded to the nearest Euro and therefore I am stuck with just bills, and I would rather have change. Oh well, I will adapt eventually but I still have to figure stuff out!

I found a nice little inet café around the corner called “Net sur Cour” which charges only 1.05€ for a ½hr of usage, which is quite reasonable (I think). I e-mailed my mom and some other people that were of the 20 e-mails in my inbox, to tell them that I’m okay but struggling in my hot room with no internet connection. I’m not sure what the consièrge said to this other girl because I wasn’t paying attention, but I think he said something about the internet in our rooms not being hooked up until October. Even still that’s really late for doing that, and it doesn’t seem really fair considering that we will have been here for 15 days. Let’s hope that it works out and I can get on the internet without having to pay a massive amount anymore! Still nobody around my region of the house, so I’m not sure if anyone else is moving in or anything, but the 6 flights of stairs is kicking my ass everytime. I think I will start to avoid going up and down the stairs all together.

We met Dr. Lee our director today and we went around and took a little unofficail tour of our university campus. There are three universities in the same region all squished together, so it’s kind of confusing but I’m sure everything will work out. Université Louis Pasteur seems to be the university for social sciences and environmental things, along with maths and Sciences (oddly). Université Marc Bloch is the one for languages and literatures, religions, and arts which I’m apart of and will be at the Institut. The last one is Université Robert Schumann which is for law, politics, european studies, business, and journalism, in other words the one with all the boring smart people 😉 Which means I go to thew weiner university for people who love languages.

Go team Marc Bloch, minus the “Dossiers” that are so confusing to fill out, especially since Dr. Lee doesn’t help us much with his little ‘example’ which is about 4 years out of date and obviously the forms have changed! He is a tad weird, and he went away this weekend for a ‘personal dinner date’ with someone in Paris. We are not sure what to think, as he’s probably having an affair with someone while we sturggle here. Still haven’t found a good cheap place to eat, but we have discovered that the city is confusing but really small and easy to find our way back. However, we have been ‘hit on’ by many people from Morocco who identify us as ‘mes blondes’ which really we don’t want to be known on, because in l’argot (slang) it translates to ‘my whores/sluts’. Oddly, in both Quebecois and France French ‘les blondes’ signifies blonde people, but when you use the personal pronoun ‘mon/ma’ it is reffering to a slut of some sort.

Apart from that our tour was lame and Dr. Lee just walked us around the city and we had no idea where we were so it was pretty much useless. Now we know what is there, just don’t know how to get there at all! We shall learn in time, but hopefully getting down and into things with the Stasbourgoise will help a little bit. I really should call up Aurélien at some point and ask him to take me out and see some things in the city; it would be very nice of him, but I don’t know if he would be willing, as I am pretty much a random person.

So Ginette, Crystal and I were sitting outside our residence talking and laughing when this guy came out to do a little bit of smoking and he noticed that we were laughing in English, and he asked us where we were from. I said from Sweden/Canada, and the others said they were French Canadian, and he was like all excited becasue he’s from Texas. He’s not the hick texan with the weird accent or anything, as he proceeded to tell us that he spent a year in Normandie studying, and really his French is amazingly good! I was quite impressed, and he talks funny but in a nice thing. He lives on my floor but on the other side of the residence, so being all chum chum with him is as likely as me falling off the roof; none. He seems to either like, or like to visit Ginette (or maybe it’s just because they live close to each other), but in any case she calls him “Buddy Eli” because his name is Elias, and apparently we are all ‘buddies’ or something. He had to go inside and do his laundry so after that he talked to the security guard, and we went to bed. In hindsight I think he has a thing for Ginette, but who knows as he was super-friendly. I just wish someone could really make an effort; maybe once classes start things will get better and I can form my own sort of circle of friends. Sucks that I live in a place way out of the way though, and it’s really difficult to figure things out like that. The French are weird like that!

Amber arrived today also, and she was actually in Place Kléber when we were walking through there coming from food and she heard us and then we talked for awhile about our flights and such, and filled each other in about how things are going to work and such. She had a great flight, so I’m emmensley jelous and I just am not impressed that I had such horrible time. I still haven’t slept very much and I’m struggling to get all those things going. I have no form of communication with anyone (as our inet doesn’t work) and I don’t have a phone at all in my room or anything. So if I’m not doing something planned, I’m just either walking around by myself, or existing in my room by-myself. It’s really not that much of an interesting life, so far! Please all people to be nicer and more outgoing, becasue I’m clearly struggling. Maybe Eli will surprise me and come knocking at my door sometime soon, as it would be nice to see a familiar face sometime!