So, I’ve come to the conclusion that although I’m absolutely loving my life here in Caen, my posts feel much more boring than those from when I was traveling. Plenty is happening and I’m having the time of my life, still! So no worries. If I sound boring let me know and I’ll try to fix that the next time around.
I finished up orientation last week and signed up for my classes: 19 hours per week, with no classes on Mondays! I still have two days to go for this week but things are going well so far. The only rough day is Tuesday, when I have class from 8:20am to 6:30pm but I fought through it. The way that schedules are done here is a bit weird: students are placed in groups, and distributed schedules like that. Therefore in all of my courses, I’m in class with the exact same students. It’s good because I’m getting to know people (and a Baylor friend Noelle is in my group with me) from places like China, Korea, Japan, Ghana, and Panama but still somewhat strange compared to American universities. There hasn’t been a lot of homework so far and I’m hoping it stays that way!
We (me and Jed, still) spent many nights last week going out, since, well, we didn’t have any other real responsibilities yet as classes hadn’t commenced. We had a little “apero” with two French guys who live in our building after we had talked with them throughout the week. An “apero” is what I’d like to call pre-gaming in English. Basically you just hang out, drink, and eat a little bit before heading out to the bar. It was nice! We talked in French the whole time and were even complimented on our speaking skills. We also spent some time with our friend Anais at her super cool apartment downtown which features windows that open onto the roof so you can sit on it! I also saw my friend Marie, another French student who studied at Baylor last semester, last week which was fantastic. Once again it was a bit bizarre to speak in French with her after a semester of English, but it went well! Another new experience was me watching a French Rugby game in an Irish pub. Can’t say I’ve ever done that before! Getting there was another story – we got super lost. There’s something I’m used to! Although Caen is small, it’s still definitely possible to walk 30 minutes longer than necessary. We eventually found the bar though, which is right on one of the ports in Caen. Jed and I watched it with our French friend Jonathan and were pleased when Jonathan’s team, Toulon, won! We finally also explored the huge castle that’s sitting in the middle of Caen, and has been for a very long time! There’s a lot of history behind it but I was a little too tired to read everything. Next time!
I’m still getting accommodated to living here, but it really is lovely. I’ve made many trips to Carrefour – the epitome of French grocery stores – to buy things like pots and pans and experimental food to cook with. After a not so good meal of “chicken noodle soup,” aka bouillon cubes in boiling water with pasta, I’ve progressed to making things like little steaks with cheesy sliced potatoes or pasta with tomatoes and onions and mushrooms. Yum! This Sunday I really need to motivate to wake up early (10am) for the huge weekly local market. Apparently there’s tons of cheap stuff, including vegetables. I like those! Also cheap clothes – yes please. I’ve already spent 20 euro at H&M and would like to keep it that way. That store is addicting!
Finally, a few random thoughts. Have I talked about how many people bring their dogs around with them in Europe? Because it’s still true in Caen. There’s cute little puppies running around everywhere and I adore it. Also, bunnies : l’Universite de Caen campus as squirrels : Baylor campus. I definitely prefer the bunnies because they remind me of Bruges when I saw way too many cute bunnies at one time and almost died of a cuteness overdoese. Another thing. Elderly folks in Europe are super hardcore. I see so many of them riding bikes everywhere – even rollerblading! I should retire here because I think I’d be much more active (yeah, that’s my excuse).
Less than a month until I get to see my Mom in Barcelona! I’m super excited to go back there and especially to see her lovely face. Unfortunately I have to take a train because of my legal status in France (long story short, basically I can’t leave the country by plane and come back in without making my Visa become invalid) but it will totally be worth it.
Hope all is well in the States! The Situation is on Dancing With the Stars? You people need to keep me updated!
pictures: (1) l’Eglise Saint Pierre by night (2) on the grounds of le Chateau (3) flags at le Chateau (4) panoramic view from the castle walls, l’Eglise Saint Pierre is on the left (5) another panoramic view (6) old ruins of the castle (7) Jed with ice dentures (don’t ask) (8) me and Jed at Anais’ apartment (9) Jonathan and me at Anais’ apartment