Study Abroad

American Convenience

So today was much more calm than yesterday. However, I “went to sleep” planning to not set an alarm and wake up whenever I wanted.

I “went to sleep” close to 4am, woke up around 8 and decided I needed a little more time. I ended up getting out of bed shortly after.

The jet lag has been REAL. I usually never get jet lag, but I’ll feel okay in the day then mid-afternoon start feeling super exhausted and then be full of energy in the evenings! I’m hoping this evening will be an earlier one than yesterday.

Today I woke up, and made coffee…..it was pathetic! I called my dad yesterday asking how it was possible to do this without a coffee pot. He told me a story of how my grandpa used to use a sock and I started to get really worried of what these next 8 months were going to be like if I was going to be making “sock coffee”. He then suggested to just buy filters and place it over the cup. Well, obviously they filter coffee but not fast enough so I over flowed my filter in my cup. Hot water and coffee grounds were making a mess all over the counter, mind you my “kitchen” is in my room, so any time I cook or handle food, I need to clean up really well, and that would have been horrible to have coffee and coffee grounds everywhere.

Long story short, that was the hardest I ever worked for a cup of coffee.

HOWEVER, it turned out great and wasn’t a bad coffee!

Then I boiled some eggs on my little plug in burner and life was good. I was feeling put together and got inspired to do a little more cleaning. Y’all….this apartment was soooooo dirty, I usually cringe when I see my mom wiping down walls, because who does that? But this place needs to be sterilized, and that it was. I wiped down the walls…twice. Once for the layer of grime and then again to actually clean. It’s amazing how much happier and satisfied you feel once a place is clean. So now things are looking up, not that I was having a bad day, but after the coffee mishap, I was feeling in control again.

Abi and I decided to get dressed and try to open our bank accounts and phone service…that didn’t happen. We’re going back tomorrow with a group from our school.

The times we have  had to interact with people here, everyone becomes terrified because they’re not sure what language to use/speak, and we don’t know the customs here for businesses and services so an exchange usually begins with an awkward stare-off and then slow mumbling in “Franglais”. It’s very frustrating coming somewhere when you’re trying to learn the language and people automatically begin speaking to you in English, when honestly (this is not meant to be offensive) it would be much easier to understand in French, because most English is very broken or with a thick accent.

Anyway, we then decided to venture out to centre-ville, the heart of the city, to explore. We went with our Italian housemate, Francesca!

Being that I’m not from a walking city this is a huge change for me, and Francesca’s version of a short walk away was not the same as mine….we’re going to have to get used to this.

Abi and I still haven’t gotten a great meal schedule down so our meal times are very random. We set out around 2pm looking for food and unfortunately for us, finding a place to eat between the times of around 2-6 in France is nearly impossible except for sandwich shops, which we were needing something a little heartier than that. I can’t go from eating rice and gravy, and chicken à la king, to one sandwich a day, not happening.

Sadly, we had to settle for a sandwich because after trying a few places, no kitchens were open.

Americans are lucky that we can stop to eat pretty much anytime of the day at our convenience.

*Point for America.

Also, options….

Y’all I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in my last post, but I never realized how much of a luxury having options is. There may be 5 versions of 1 item available at the store as opposed to you’re 50 different options of volumizing shampoo back home.

However, not to worry, I can confirm that they do have dry shampoo here, and it’s Batiste (fun fact that’s a brand form the UK, I never knew). That’s all a girl really needs anyway so I was VERY thankful for this discovery.

Also side note, they have Sephora and McDonald’s almost next to each other, I would say walking distance, but I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone, the phrase “walking distance” has been nothing but false hope lately.

When I’m feeling homesick I know where to go.

All in all there are pros and cons.

Pros:

  • I’m in Freaking Europe
  • I’m living the city life
  • The food is bomb

Cons

  • This involves a lot more walking than what I was prepared for
  • Opening Hours here are SOOOOO INCONVENIENT
  • I need more options at the store, the selection is struggling.

City-life is very new to me,though Strasbourg is nothing compared to say, Paris or New York. However it’s still a big change. I accidentally ALWAYS walk in the bike lane, actually wait for the crossing sign to turn green (apparently that’s not necessary according to some people @Abi), and don’t know how I’ll ever get used to walking ALL DAY.

I was worried before of gaining weight on this trip but that won’t be a problem. Between the 4 flights upstairs and having to walk all the time, I should be beach-body ready come Spring!

This evening, Francesca invited us downstairs to her room for Authentic Italian Spaghetti with a ragu (I thought that was just a brand but apparently that’s the word for meat sauce) her mom made for her to bring here.

It was delicious and we had so much fun visiting with her. She expressed how much she liked American culture, and that “America is a dream”. It was very neat to talk about the American high school experience that according to Francesca young Italians envy such as prom, graduation ceremony, riding the school bus, high school athletics, and basically everything we think is completely traditional to find in a high school. It was pretty amazing. She explained how Europeans grow up and perfect their English by watching American TV shows and dreaming about all of the things they see about life here in America.

I look forward to these discussions as I meet more students and begin classes. Furthermore, I can’t wait ’til I can walk a mile in my docs, because so far those boots haven’t proved they’re made for walking (cheesy joke). Seriously though, I’ve been wearing them every day to break them in but tomorrow I may opt for some tennis shoes just to see if I can get in a couple more miles of exploring before I tire out.

A couple candles, pictures on the wall, cup of tea, and blog post later, I’m starting to feel more at home here.

Next thing I’m looking forward to is Saturday Market!

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Visit Louisiana

My Goal

People always say you can do anything. We set goals often times but never follow through. I’ve always heard that one of the hardest parts of pursuing a goal is to start, and boy is that true. I’ve procrastinated, edited, and avoided launching {Almost} Cajun for some time. My goal was to use this website as a platform to reach out to anyone interested in the Cajun Heritage and Culture as well as share my personal experiences growing up here in South Louisiana. I will be leaving to travel abroad in 11 days (see countdown for updated days left), and I gave myself the deadline of being prepared to launch prior to my departure so I could just post away about my experiences once school starts.

I’ve doubted my qualification for hosting such a site since I’m only {Almost} Cajun, but I feel like I have a few things to say about my adopted culture. It’s a welcoming community and has come to be known and defined as many things. There are several meanings to the term, however mine is more of a personal definition, and one I’m quite proud to be able to categorize myself as.

I was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and grew up in Cecilia, Louisiana. I have been been impacted by MY Cajun culture from the very start. Once I began attending school I was enrolled in French Immersion. In our region there are several French Immersion Schools motivated by a desire to enrich students learning and preserve our Cajun French Roots. On the home page there is a video where several locals discuss their cajun roots and touch topics such as Cajun, Creole, and School back in the day. Now, there is a movement to preserve this culture but in the past we were trying to rid ourselves of ties to anything French. However, we’ve embraced our identity, where we came from, and are proud of our culture and traditions.

There are several reasons I love the Cajun Culture and the traditions I grew up with and I hope to provide you with several examples throughout my posts however something most cajuns refers to is our Joie de Vie (Joy of Life), the Southern Lifestyle, and growing up in a country environment. Everything is much more slow paced, mom and pop style, visit with your neighbor, and talk to people in the grocery store way of life. I love this about Louisiana in general. There’s much to love about places that offer diversity of culture, but ours is so rich and ingrained in everything we do you can’t seem to escape it. No matter where I am, I can be sure to find a friendly face, a nice conversation, good food, and someone who bleeds purple and gold (GEAUX TIGERS) just as much as I do, here in Louisiana.

I love the festivals, the music, the food, the community, and the pride of being who we are, so much I decided to double major in French…..but that’s a topic for another post.

Whether you’re cajun, {Almost} Cajun, or interested in a Cajun (marrying a Cajun would be the best decision you’d ever make).

There’s a place for everyone.