After today I am at a loss for words with many things. I frankly just don’t know what to think or feel about hobos anymore. I’ve had good experiences, I’ve had bad experiences, but all in all the experiences have been more eye-opening than anything. Hobos are in every major city, and even in smaller towns. A hobo, by unofficial definition (at least for me) is someone who wanders or lives on the street and dresses (generally) poorly, and begs for money or food. There is a fine line between a beggar and a hobo, but I don’t really want to get into a debate about it all at this point in my life.

Anyways, the day started at 06.00 becasue I had to get an early start on doing the laundry. I was surprised to find out that people were doing laundry before me. What are they crazy? I thought I was crazy waking up at that hour when the garbage men aren’t even out, but especially on a Friday when all French students go home to their parent’s house, and I would assume could take their laundry home with them. Apparently I’m wrong, but no matter, I was able to purchase a ticket for 4€ bloody much money! The woman was in a bitchy mood as always, but I think I made he smile when I couldn’t figure out how to start the machine. I had to ask her to help and after a huge sigh like it was the end of the world to get off her fat ass, she said “Ugh, Je viens” and then came and showed me. So I went back to bed and set the timer on my mobile so that I could wake up, and then Í ran down to put into the dryer which was a bit more straight forward. but by this time we were getting close to my 10.30 class, so I was panicing. Eventually I took it out at about 20 past 10.00 and threw it in my room and ran to class (and was still late).

Class was interesting as we had oral presentations, and I was clearly the best as most people can’t even pronouce the words. I wish I could be moved up in a group or something, but at the same time I like the people in my group as they are really funny, and generally really nice. I got to pretend that I was some Swiss Francophone guy named Nils who is torn between being French speaking, living in Alcase where they only speak German. It was interesting, but my masculine / feminine forms was the only problem, Alain (my teacher) told me. I don’t understand why he insists we call him Alain, but still insists on vous-voyezing each other for ‘practice.’ I don’t need practice for that as I’m always vous-voyezing everyone anyways, so it’s just the rest of the world that’s screwed up. Anyways, he’s really just like a student who speaks French really well, but he’s been wearing the same outfit all week, which is a bit weird, but who notices besides me?!

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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.01

And so my arrival in France has been very elongaged due to various happenings in the world, I must make special note of my travels. After being dropped off at Toronto airport 3.5 hours before my departure for Frankfurt, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that I went through security and all my travel stuff in less than 10 minutes. How is this possible? Even with not that many people there at that time of the day, 10 minutes through everything is ridiculus! Things went so fast, and then I was left to sit around for 3.5 hours and do nothing but read a book that I really wasn’t into at all.

So people start arriving and a nice Arabic woman sits down next to me asking if this is the waiting area for people departing for Frankfurt. I told her yes, and she had a seat and told me about he family in Germany and how she was so exicited; it was a nice change from the boringness. Then few hours later a German family with two kids arrived, and the parents were trying to teach the kids spelling of German words but they were clearly not interested, and they were really cute and were hopping about with all the excitement of planes and departures and such. Anyways, we board the plane and we get up into the air, and then we stop in Halifax where we are picking up some people more before we go to Frankfurt.

All I can say is that I hated the flight. The movies sucked, the food was decent, but the people around me were horrid. The German woman behind me was so old and so obese that she woudln’t allow me to tilt my chair back even a little bit before smacking me with her purse, and her yelling at me to move as she doesn’t have enough room to breathe. GEESHE. And on top of that I have a Croatian-Russian-French-English father and son talking to each other in hybrid-Croatian-French-English which is really irritating. If they chose one language it would have been okay, but noooo! Anyways, the only cool things about the flight was that they have this cool GPS thing that they use to tell us exactly where we are, so that was nice to see as we apprached land again. But also that we arrived 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

Whipping through customs was a breeze and the customs officer commented on me being so well dressed (weird: yes, disturbing: yes, flattering: yes, appropriate: no). Anyways, I grabbed my bags and then ran off to get the tram to take me to the main airport. Now, Frankfurt airport is the 2nd largest in Europe and it’s beautiful, but nobody in the God-forsaken building knows where anything is. I asked them about ticket counters, bus waiting area, and help desks and they all either didn’t know how to speak English or French, or sent me in the wrong direction. After running with my luggage from level 1-4 at least 3 times each, I went to the “Special Services” area for Lufthansa to get some help, and I felt like an idiot cause I was a ‘normal’ person. The nice woman walked me to the counter, and I bought my ticket that I reserved for 13.30, however I was trying to rush so that I could get the 11.00 bus, however I realized that I barely missed it, and would have to wait a few more hours. So technically I had been running around the airport for 2 hours (bugger).

I sit outside in the bus area with my luggage next to a flight attendant for LTU who was there for about the same time as me, and I read, and read, and read, and looked at German people walk by. All of them were polite and nice, but none spoke English to anyone when they needed help, and they were chit-chatting on their mobiles all the time. I saw the same guy walk by like 9 times in the course of 3 hours, so I was a bit weirded out at one point. Then this woman came up to me and tried to see if I spoke German, which I don’t, so she whips out a card explaining that she was a widdow from Kosovo, and her children were killed in a bombing accident 5 days ago. I was reluctant to help, because the situation was sketchy and she was begging, so she walked awat in her dress and stelettos. Few minutes later, more woman from Kosovo came over, but knowing this I pretended to not speak German or English and kept telling them words in Swedish, and saying sorry. I felt guilty, but I figure it’s an eye for an eye because they were trying to guilt trip me!

So my bus arrived hours later, and after reading 200 pages of my book I ran onto it and staked out my seat thinking there would be tons of people after putting my luggage underneith. All but 4 others got on, 2 of which were a family from Croatia, and a woman who was a flight attendant, and then some German guy that kept staring at me for some reason. I sat down and we departed, and quite honestly there isn’t anything along the highway to see, as it’s all fields and vinyards and random stuff like that! Anyways, I fall asleep because I’m knackered and I wake up about an hour later feeling like I’m being watched. Luckily since I was wearing sunglasses nobody else (of the 4 people) could see that I see them, so I slowly open my eyes without moving and I find that this younger German guy is staring at me. So I start to stretch and wake up and remove my sun glasses, and he quickly turned away. I was throuoghly creeped out as he was clearly staring at me. Anyways, I take out my book to read and I turned some pages and then I see the guy moving to a seat closer to myself, and I look up and he’s just smiling at me. And I look at him and smile and go back to reading not knowing what to do or anything. He keeps getting closer and then he says something in German that I didn’t understand and I look at him blankly, and then he started to speak some poor English, asking if I speak English or French and I said yes both, and he started chatting to me in English since he said it was better than his French.

He was a nice guy, but I couldn’t help but notice his constant moves to try to get closer to me, when I had my legs up, and clearly looking uncomfortable. And then a few minutes after he just blurts out that he thinks that my eyes are the most amazing things he’s ever seen in his whole life. Hold up a minute; what’s the deal with that, and what the heck do I say to that? I politely said thanks, and then he just like leaned over and places his head on my neck, and I jumped and he said “Sorry, did I do something wrong?”…

!!!

What’s up with that? I told him “Why are you doing this?” and he just laughed and said that I should already know, so I moved alittle bit and he took it off, and then I started to ask him to teach me some basic German, so I learned a few word and how to greet people and say my name and such, and he was a nice guy. He wore glasses and had light brown hair, was tall and skinny, and was really nice; however very creepy. Thank goodness we arrived a few moments later, as I was about to scream rape, the bus driver stopped at our stop in downtown Strasbourg, and I said “Opps I gotta go, nice to meet you” and then went to get my luggage. He followed slowly (catching up) and then I followed the Croatian family to the end of the street so I could find the main train station, Gare Centrale. He followed too but it didn’t look to inconspicuous, and then I walked through the Gare, found the taxis, and he was about 100m behind and he yelled “Maybe I will see you around!?” and I waved and said goodbye diving into a taxi and begging him to drive me to my residence and not the areoport. He didn’t understand French, as he was Chinese, but he got me to where I needed to be and I paid him the 4€ for the trip and then in the sweltering French heat I walked around the corner to my residence.

The woman was nice, and she helped me as other students walked by, and I signed some papers and she took my drivers liscence becasue the bank was closed and I had to pay a 150€ security deposit. Then complained to me that she was sorry that I am in the 4th floor, as it’s so far but that she had no choice, not knowing that I would have a shit room I walked up the stairs with all my luggage in hand. French apartments are fucked, the main lobby and first floor aren’t considered floors, they are the lobby and the ‘entresol’ so technically I was on the 6th floor, and the bloody place doesn’t have an elevator. So I walk and walk, and then I couldn’t find my room, so I walk around some more and the apartment is shaped like a U, so I looked at the map of it, and followed some doors, but they were locked, so I walked by another few, and then I finally (after 45 mins) found the way to it as nobody would help me and all the French students could manage to say was “Bonjour.”

I walk into my room which is in the middle of nowhere and surrounded only by open windows, and I open it and it’s an oven in my room. I struggle to figure out how to open the windows, and they only open a sliver (as I could see) so I layed down and was like “ouf” and changed out of my clothes into cooler things. I unpacked my stuff and grabbed some water, and found the bathrooms so I could was up and then go for a walk. I walked around in circles around my house to familiarize myself and the area, which is busteling with people and tramways and students who are screaming at each other. So basically my first impression of France is that people are really rude; and they like to yell. So I go inside again and fall alseep, waking at 00.00 or so and couldn’t fall asleep until 04.00, so I woke up the next day later, and then waited around as I didn’t know if anyone else arrived. I was the first, so I was screwed! Then a knock on my door in the afternoon it turned out to be Ginette, who lived on the other side of the residence (5 min walk away) and she was like “omg someone!” and I was greatful as I don’t seem to have neighbours as nobody talks, or I don’t hear anything from the hallway. It’s depressing and my room is falling apart, but it’s at least big.

I had no pillow, no sheets, noting but wool blankets which itch my skin, so I didn’t sleep well for the next 2 nights (if at all) and was struggling with the heat. Die heat die.

So all in all, the arrival was bleh, and so far things were horrid since I hadn’t eaten anything as of yet, however the score at this point was Frankfurt – 1, Osky – 0. So sad~!