Getting up to Speed

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve got around to a post. That’s a good thing, it means I’ve been super busy. Fall is in full swing here in Strasbourg, leaves are changing color, filling my bike basket, getting stuck in my hair. It’s great!

Seriously though, it’s quite beautiful.

I mentioned in my last post I was doing a presentation in my French class on the Acadians……nailed it! My teacher was thoroughly impressed with my presentation; he even complimented all Americans as a whole on presentation skills.

Another observation that I’ve made about how the college experience here differs is that there is a larger focus on the real world aspect of business, not so much theory as back home (both are important).

My classes are 3 hours long as opposed to my normal 50 minutes or an hour and a half. Yet, I pay more attention here in class than back home! In class we use real world examples and most of my teachers double as professionals in their field. In class I learn a limited amount of theory but we study a lot of businesses as examples. We do case studies on actual corporations, and after learning a concept it’s always related to an actual practice.

**There are pros and cons to both styles of class.

Aside from school, I’ve also been getting more and more accustomed to my city.

I went to the mall the other day. Most of the stores I typically shop at are on a strip down a street. I had no clue we had an ACTUAL MALL! I definitely missed being able to shop hop and the convenience of having everything in one place!

Another cool thing about my city is I get to recycle here! It’s honestly the cutest thing ever. We have a recycling bin not too far from our apartment on the way to school. When my bag is full I load it into my bike basket and drop it off there.

Speaking of my bike, I find it hysterical that I have a GPS talking to me as I bike places. I can imagine what people think as I bike past them and my British Siri says, “In 200m turn left on to Boulevard de la Marne”.

Another bike-related happening was this past week. I was riding my bike near the main station in the centre of town, “Homme de Fer” and trying to dodge the loads of people, I crashed into a pole. Everyone around me sucked in their breath and just stared at me. I quickly got off and walked my bike the remainder of the time……quelle honte.

As for the food I’ve been eating….quick lesson for you guys! Francesca made some Carbonara (I believe I’ve mentioned this, if not it was bomb)….and did you know that carbonara is bacon bits and noodles with an egg to make them sticky with parmesan. I had no idea. If that was common knowledge then just disregard that. And about that Parmesan….we eat the real deal here, I’m talking grating it straight from the block! And have you ever wondered how much spaghetti to cook for guests, well Francesca’s Italian secret is that a box of 500g of spaghetti is good for 5 people.

The fact that everything here is measured with the metric system is a huge adjustment, cooking, walking somewhere, trying to figure out if I need to wear a jacket. I’ve changed my weather app to celsius so I can start learning what the measurement correlates to with the weather!

Concerning school we gave a presentation on LSU for their study abroad fair. We then had a meet and greet and one of the student’s question was , “Is it true that it’s difficult to eat healthy in the U.S.?” There is this constant mention that the U.S. population is obese, and all we eat is junk food. I told this girl that yes, fresh foods are more expensive, however, it shouldn’t be a problem considering it’s custom here to prepare meals as opposed to back home where convenience takes priority.

A friend of mine from Scotland was talking about food with me as well, and she says, “You’re dinners must be amazing…..Fried Chicken!”. I burst out laughing……..I could not believe she thought we actually eat fried chicken all the time in Louisiana. I shared my love for Popeyes, but explained that at least in my experience, that was the extent of my fried chicken dinners.

I even get strange responses when talking about peanut butter and jelly! This combination is a foreign concept to Europeans apparently, and one girl responded expressing how many calories that must be and how unhealthy that was…& to think this was what my mom considered a healthy snack….

I’ve been making tons of great memories here, and meeting loads of cool people. So many new friends that at first I was always looking for things to do, and now I oftentimes have to make a choice because everyone wants to make plans (not just with me, I’m not that cool; the respective friend groups).

I also joined the college soccer team! I found out we’ll be playing in a tournament cup and will play other colleges, and even travel to Paris and Lyon! In addition, we practice at the F.C. Kronenbourg fields and their women’s coach asked myself and 2 other players to play with them. It’s still undecided but I think it’s pretty cool that this opportunity even exists. I think it’d be so neat to say I played for a club soccer team in Europe! This just happened on Monday, so no decisions made yet. However, I think it’d be a great experience, and a chance to practice my French considering at soccer practice thats the only thing everyone speaks with each other. There are only 2 exchange students on the team! Myself, and a girl from Switzerland.

Concerning my travels, this weekend I went to Rome, Italy! It was a 14 hour bus ride from Strasbourg and we went with a group from school. Shutting out the never-ending bus ride,  it was well worth it! I saw all the typical sites!

As for the experience and what I thought….I cried when I saw the Pope, I felt super underdressed in the club, everything is super close and squished (Trevi Fountain is right in the middle of a very small square in the middle of the city!), the School of Athens in the Vatican Museum is amazing, and Creation of Adam not so much (It’s a small panel amongst an extremely detailed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel), you can’t compare true Italian cuisine with Italian from back home (pasta with any type of meat is not a thing, it’s mostly just different types of sauce….also Alfredo is American…this doesn’t exist in Italy @francesca).

Finally, I spoke Spanish with the Italians when trying to get my point across and for the most part it worked out okay!

This weekend I’m going to Switzerland, and then in November I’ll be heading to Budapest!