So, the title of this post may seem a little strange and I’ll get to that in a second. But- first and foremost (I love when I have a chance to use this expression) I’d like to bring you guys up-to-date.
A while back my bike had broke…I purchased a bicycle when I first arrived and I had to bring it to the bike shop for several different tune-ups. In the beginning this was humorous and I joked around saying I was going to the “shop” because I thought it was funny since back home this is custom to do with a car, this was a whole new concept to me. However, once the store owner began to recognize me and new my name it was obvious there was a problem. My biggest “needs fixing” moment was in December when, if you recall from that post, I was on my way to class and mid pedal my entire chain broke off and at the moment I didn’t realize what had happened out of embarrassment and had to quickly straddle my bike and scoot across the street not even realizing what had happened until after. When I brought my bike to get repaired I was deeply disappointed to find out the cost would be almost the same as the price I had purchased it for so I was out of a vehicle and relying on public transportation (which is great) until yesterday! I decided to contact the seller (who owns a secondhand bike shop) and request if he could repair it. What was going to cost me 60 euros at that one play, he charged me 10 euros…y’all, I am back in business! Now I can go back to leaving my house 5 minutes before class starts! In addition, on dreaded Tuesdays when IT ALWAYS SLIPS MY MIND that the market is going on, the stop in front of school isn’t serviced and we have to take a detour and I end up farther away from school then if I would have just walked…those days are over!
In short, I’m a happy camper now that my bike is fixed, and I payed an awesome price!
Other recent events include the start of a student association for international students at my university. After observing the lack of opportunities for exchange students to get involved I decided to start a mini association modeled after those the French students serve on. The structure of our university harshly divides local students from international students, and this is okay, I understand how concerning administration this makes sense. However, seeing that their student life is 10x more fun and full of activities than ours wasn’t okay to me. We are invited to attend events they host but issues with communication, and overall differences in school as far as being in completely different programs along with the aforementioned coconut culture of the French leads to it being really awkward. Sooo… I recruited several other students and we have begun planning events and opportunities for the students on international programs to get to know each other. Furthermore, this makes sense considering our experiences of coming to a completely new place are quite similar being that we take the same classes. In addition, I think the more we become friends it will be interesting to hear how everyone has been navigating their time abroad.
Which speaking of international students our beloved Francesca’s time abroad came to an end and she left us this past Sunday. Let me tell y’all… that was THE MOST depressing moment when myself and all our flatmates were standing on the side of the road waving at her car as she and her family drove away. Francesca was an awesome roommate and one of my very first supporters of the blog. She was always eager for my next post and constantly asked if I had written anything new! Our house will not be the same without our favorite Italian singing at the top of her lungs, making dolphin noises, cooking us pasta, or telling stories with the craziest hand gestures you ever did see. One of my favorite memories was when Francesca told me that she loves Americans because we make her feel good about herself. The example she used when I questioned why was the fact that I always mention that she looks, “so sassy”, after learning the context of this compliment, our exchanges whenever we saw each other usually involved throwing in, “girl, you look so sassy”! Just like with Diana who speaks Portuguese, anytime Francesca didn’t understand a word or vice-versa we spoke to each other in Italian and Spanish, however, this happened very seldom. After living with us and getting to bond over American TV shows she grew up watching and answering all the questions of America in the beginning when she still thought we were cool, Francesca may not have improved her French that much but she sure as heck left with awesome English, and a few bad habits of Abi and I that maybe she shouldn’t have learned. Finally, my last favorite thing about Francesca was the word “funny” posed the most difficulty for her and it was a constant battle trying to correct this because she would replace the word fun for funny in her sentences. Another troublesome word was cheaper. Apparently, “cheapier” was better for some reason. All-in-all I couldn’t have asked for a better housemate and I’m so excited I’ll be seeing her so soon when I go to visit Damian in Turin at the end of February!
Before I mention Damian coming (which I’m soooooooo excited!) We acquired a new housemate, who now resides where Francesca once did. Our new mate is named Adriano, and he’s another Italian! Since our house dinner’s had become less frequent I decided to host a dinner to welcome him to our flat-family. I understand why people always ask, “how’s the food”. Y’all I cooked red beans and rice and I knew it was good but when people got up for seconds my heart was so full! It feels so good when people like your cooking! Virgil has even gotten used to hot sauce and Tony’s. The first meal I cooked he couldn’t even eat it and now he pours it on! Red Beans and Rice is the perfect get to know you meal. It’s authentic from home, it’s comfort food, and it’s just sooooo freaking good!
Which speaking of home, Damian comes NEXT week! As much as I’m excited to see him, I’m even more excited because of the precious cargo he’ll be delivering. I’ve requested King Cake and Girl Scout cookies: you really “don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”. Aside from these goodies, I need to give him a quick shoutout! Guys, this man has taught himself Italian in just a few months, passed the entrance exam for his university that required proficiency in Italian since his courses will be held in Italian, and on top of all of this he’s rocking school as a Chemical Engineering major! Seriously, couldn’t be more proud! On top of this, we’ve been a part for a while and while I’ve been having an awesome time here in Europe he’s been working his tail-off and through that all he managed to come visit me during Christmas! I’m super excited for his experience, more-so to see how he handles all the obstacles I was constantly complaining about in the beginning. We’re super competitive and he thinks that everything is going to be a piece of cake. His first struggle was trying to order bedding on Amazon to be delivered to his apartment when he arrived. If you weren’t aware of this you can’t order something from Amazon.com and have it shipped to Europe, it needs to be the specific Amazon in that country. In my case, I constantly use Amazon.fr. Something you should know is that the site is typically in the language of the country, so Damian was attempting to navigate Amazon in Italian. Basic words are okay, but when you need something specific like: a fitted sheet, bedsheets, comforter, pillow case, and mattress cover it can get complicated. To top it off some of these things may not even exist or be custom in the country you’re visiting, and the dimensions are completely different. Just minor details of challenges when moving abroad.
Anyway for your information if you ever run in to this problem these are the translations for the essentials of bedding (Parures de Lit) in French and Italian :
- Pillow: Oreiller
- Pillow Case: Taie d’oreiller
- Bed Sheet: Drap
- Fitted Sheet: Drap housse
- Mattress Cover: Alèse
- Duvet: Couette duvet
- Duver Cover: Housse de couette duvet
- Pillow: Cuscino
- Pillow Case: Federa
- Bed Sheet: Lenzuola
- Fitted Sheet: Lenzuola con Angoli
- Mattress Cover: Copri Materasso
- Duvet: Piumone
- Duvet Cover: Copri Piumone
A mishap I’ll mention that happened just yesterday is evidence that karma exists. As time has been going on, yes, I am still extremely dependent of Google Maps but I FELT that I was improving my navigation of the public transportation system, then yesterday Abi and I went to McDonald’s and somehow got on the bus going in the opposite direction and ended up on the border with Germany an hour away from home and had to wait for the last bus going in the right direction to get back to our house. I guess it was karma for eating McDonald’s.
Fun Fact: McDonald’s is open until 11pm in Strasbourg, but right across the border in Kehl it’s open until 5am!
Lastly, one of the things I miss about Louisiana is live music. There are many things to do here in Strasbourg that are different from back home, however, I really miss getting to see live music which as it turns out is not really common here. However, Diana and I visited this place in Krutenau, an area not too far from where we live which is the coolest part of down with hip shops, cafes (Cafe Bretelles), restaurants, and bars (**pro tip if you’ll be studying abroad here). We went to this little bar called Le Local which hosts a Jazz Jam Session! It was great to get a taste of home.
These are my most recent updates and I just received a shipment from Amazon of a French Press I ordered! I’ll let you know how it goes, Virgil has one and I loved the coffee it makes so I had to get my own; I got the 12oz. in copper! I’m excited to test it out for myself.